DALLAS – The North Texas Trafficking Task Force (NTTTF) led by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Dallas reported the recovery of 31 children previously reported missing from the North Texas area.
In early February, the HSI led NTTTF supported by the United States Marshals Service (USMS) for the Northern District of Texas (NDTX) conducted a joint law-enforcement operation to locate the missing children reported through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database and law enforcement partners.
“While this joint operation lasted approximately 30 days, HSI Dallas will continue working relentlessly to identify & recover missing children who become vulnerable to human traffickers across the North Texas region,” said HSI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin. “Our continued collaboration with our local, state and federal law-enforcement partners and non-governmental organizations is vital to combatting this global epidemic.”
During the month-long operation, NTTTF analysts and special agents discovered that six of the missing children were considered high risk of being sex trafficked, five were runaways located away from their primary residence. The remaining 20 children were returned home or to their juvenile facility of record.
The NTTTF is an HSI Dallas and Northern District of Texas Attorney’s Office-led task force, created to combat human trafficking and rescue trafficking victims. The NTTTF, with assistance from the HSI Dallas Victim Coordinator and DFW area non-government organizations (NGO), assists in rescuing trafficking victims, ensuring their safety by using a victim-centered approach that focuses on the victim’s wellbeing, health and delivery of social services.
The NTTTF provided substantial support and assistance through intelligence analysis and investigative activity, leading to the recovery of all the minors reported missing.
Multiple organizations were comprised of the multi-agency operation to include: The Arlington Police Department, Colleyville Police Department, Dallas Police Department, Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Worth Police Department, Grand Prairie Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is one of the top five locations across the nation for criminal arrests for Human Trafficking, validating the priority and urgency in locating the missing children.
HSI Dallas and the NTTTF partners assisted in providing social services to the recovered children, placing special emphasis on those most vulnerable to sex trafficking.
HSI is the principal investigative arm of DHS and a vital U.S. asset in combatting transnational crime and threats. One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s human trafficking and child exploitation investigations programs are central components of this mission set. HSI is recognized as a global leader in these investigative disciplines, and is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and non-government partnerships to identify and rescue child victims, identify and apprehend offenders, prevent human trafficking, prevent transnational child sexual abuse, and help make the internet a safer place for children.
Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE.gov)