70 missing children recovered by law enforcement in West Texas

A law enforcement operation in West Texas led to the recovery of 70 missing children, according to an announcement from last week.

Local Houston news, Click2Houston reported that Homeland Security Investigations El Paso, the Texas Department of Public Safety and numerous other federal, state and local agencies worked together to find the missing children. 

The operation, named “Operation Lost Souls,” stretched over three weeks from the end of April to mid-May in El Paso, Midland and Ector and Tom Green counties, leading to the recover of missing youth from the age of 10-17. 

These children recovered by law enforcement included victims of sex trafficking, and physical and sexual abuse, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement said in a news release.

According to the news outlet, the bulk of the children were located in West Texas, but some were in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex as well as the state of Colorado and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, authorities said.

The government agencies included in the operation provided victim services and counseling to the recovered children and their families.

“Operation Lost Souls exemplifies Homeland Security Investigations’ commitment to protecting the public from crimes of victimization. In this case, we are looking out for our children – our community’s most precious resource,” said HSI El Paso Deputy Special Agent in Charge Taekuk Cho. “HSI is committed to continue [sic] working with our law enforcement partners to locate, recover and help missing children heal, while ensuring that perpetrators are held responsible for these heinous crimes and brought to justice.”

The operation results were released during a news conference on May 25, which coincided with National Missing Children’s Day.

“At the Department of Public Safety, teamwork is one of our core values,” said DPS Major Matthew Mull. “We are grateful for all of our law enforcement partners who participated in this operation and who work around-the-clock every day to protect our communities, including our youth.”

If you have information about a human trafficking victim or this type of criminal activity, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.