More than 123 children were recovered in Detroit as part of an initiative to find victims of sex trafficking, according to officials.
All the children who were recovered were interviewed by authorities. Investigators said at least three of the children showed signs that they were victims of sex trafficking or sexually victimized.
There has been some confusion over how many children were recovered, as the U.S. Marshals put out a press release stating 123 children had been located, 16 more than the State Police tally. The press release also mentions a separate investigation but from before the sweep, in which deputy U.S. Marshals from DMCRU were asked to investigate 30 cases involving missing children; nine children were recovered prior to the sweep and another seven were located during the operation.
A representative from DMCRU confirmed that these cases account for the discrepancy and are from the separate but overlapping investigation, and not part of the 301 targeted by the sweep.
Both the U.S. Marshals and the Michigan State Police confirmed that of the 107 children recovered under Operation MISafeKid, three were identified as being possible sex trafficking cases; a fourth case involving a homeless 14-year-old who was abandoned by his mother after his father went to prison and hadn’t eaten in three days.
The search was conducted along with the efforts of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as well as the Michigan Police Department. Overall, the sweep took place over the course of one day in Wayne County, Michigan.
In their efforts, the teams began investigating cases and looking through files of children reported missing. Participating officers then started visiting locations where the children were reportedly last seen. They also spoke with friends and schools to question about the children who were being sought out.
Information as to where all of the missing children are currently located is not available. Officials said the investigation is still ongoing.