EL PASO, Texas -- A three-week operation in west Texas led to the recovery of 70 missing children, according to a release from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The investigation called "Operation Lost Souls," was conducted by the Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) and ran from the end of April through mid-May in El Paso, Midland, and Ector.
The missing children, many of them who were identified as runaways, ranged in age from 10 to 17 years old. Some of the children found were also victims of sex trafficking and physical and sexual abuse, according to ICE.
While the majority of the children were found in west Texas, some were also found in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, as well as in Colorado and in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, ICE shared.
"At the Department of Public Safety, teamwork is one of our core values," said DPS Maj. 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."
The agencies also provided victim services and counseling to the children rescued and their families.
If you have information about a human trafficking victim or information about this type of criminal activity, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.