Ian Patrick, FISM News
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reported that 150 children have been recovered from an investigation during January and February of this year. Children as young as 3 years old were among the ones rescued, and at least one has been confirmed to have been rescued during an active kidnapping.
King: One of the recovered children was identified as a potential human trafficking victim, resulting in a still-active investigation.
— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) March 3, 2021
The investigation was a multi-agency operation between TBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. Named “Operation Volunteer Strong,” the agencies were looking to locate 240 children after the TBI compiled data for investigation.
During a press conference given on March 3, the TBI noted that the children rescued will receive help from the Department of Children’s Services and may be placed in foster homes “or other specialized care.”
The child recovered from an active kidnapping also resulted in the arrest of at least one suspect, and the revelation of a potential human trafficking operation, which is a probable underlying cause for a number of the missing children. Authorities are investigating five other children whom they suspect have also been victims of trafficking.
The remaining 90 children who were identified in the original investigation have not been recovered yet, and authorities are still searching for them. In the report on “Operation Volunteer Strong,” TBI Director David Rausch laments the fact that “hundreds” of Tennessee children go missing every month.
“From runaways that may leave their home out of desperation or despair, to those entangled in a custody battle, every single one of them deserves a fighting chance, and that’s why they also deserve our best work to help them.”