The FBI said officers rescued about three dozen missing children in Southern California during an investigation into human trafficking.
According to the players, eight of the 33 children rescued as part of “Operation Lost Angels” were sexually abused when officers laid siege to rescue them in the operation.
The agency said on Friday that two children had previously been rescued during the operation.
The FBI said, “It is not uncommon for victims who return in commercial sexual trafficking, either voluntarily or by force, fraud, or coercion.”
The agency continued, “This harmful cycle highlights the challenges faced by victims and the problems faced by law enforcement when attempting to bring victims back into abusive situations.” “Victims may not be identified as traffickers or even aware they are traffickers.”
A suspected human smuggler was arrested, and several investigations were launched as a result of the investigation.
The FBI said “some minor victims were arrested for probation violations, robbery, or other misdeeds” and that “a child was the victim of the kidnapping of a nonresident parent.”
The FBI said in a statement that the joint investigation, which involved two dozen law enforcement agencies and led by the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, began Jan. 11.
In 2020, the FBI investigated 664 human traffickers across the country, which led to the arrest of 473 smugglers.