By Ramon Tomey
Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies rescued more than 70 children from a human trafficking ring. The three-week operation dubbed Operation Lost Souls was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) El Paso and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), alongside other federal, state and local agencies.
Operation Lost Souls ran from the end of April 2022 until the middle of May – centering on the El Paso, Midland, Ector and Tom Green counties. The missing children and teenagers, many of whom were runaways, were between the ages of 10 and 17. The 70 children were victims of sex trafficking and physical and sexual abuse.
While most of the children were recovered in west Texas, a few were recovered from the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the state’s eastern portion. Some were recovered from the state of Colorado, and as far down as the city of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico’s Chihuahua state. The agencies involved in Operation Lost Souls have provided services and counseling to the recovered children and their families. HSI did not release further information about the 70 children due to the nature of the investigation.
The results of Operation Lost Souls were announced during a May 25 news conference, which coincided with the National Missing Children’s Day.
HSI El Paso Deputy Special Agency in Charge Taekuk Cho said: “Operation Lost Souls exemplifies HSI’s 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. HSI is committed to continue 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.”
DPS Major Matthew Mull said: “At the DPS, teamwork is one of our core values. 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.”
Operation’s success comes after kidnapping in Dallas
The success of Operation Lost Souls followed an incident where a 15-year-old girl was kidnapped during a basketball game in Dallas. Law enforcement managed to rescue the girl 10 days after she disappeared during an April 8 game at the American Airlines Center. The girl went to use the bathroom, but did not return to her seat. She was later seen leaving the arena with an unknown man.
The girl’s concerned father reached out to the Dallas Police Department for help but was simply told to go home. According to the state’s family code, missing teenagers are considered runaways unless there is evidence of a kidnapping. “My daughter went missing in the city of Dallas, this is Dallas case, but they refused to open a case for her,” said the father.
Inaction from the side of law enforcement led to the missing girl’s family approaching the Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative for help. The group subsequently tracked down her nude pictures on a prostitution website and alerted the Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD).
The girl was then located by OCPD officers on April 18 at an Extended Stay America hotel in Oklahoma City – 200 miles away from where she was abducted. She was rescued on the same day while in the company of a convicted sex offender. Later, it was found that the room where the girl was found had been rented using another person’s ID card. (Related: Child trafficking in America is REAL, and this teen was kidnapped from a basketball game crowd and sex trafficked for 11 days before being rescued.)
Authorities subsequently arrested eight individuals in connection with the crime.
“We are thankful for the work of the OCPD and the recovery of our daughter. My heart breaks for the unimaginable things my daughter had to endure [while] she was taken, and I am so glad she is safe as we work toward her recovery,” the girl’s mother said in a May 5 statement.
Zeke Fortenberry, lawyer for the missing girl’s family, rebuked the “systems and organizations involved in the case” for “failing the victim” in a statement. He added that her life “will forever be changed” as a result of the harrowing events.
“She should never have had contact with the man at the Mavericks game. The Extended Stay America hotel in Oklahoma City puts profits ahead of people by turning a blind eye to the sexual exploitation occurring right before their eyes. The Dallas Police should have worked quickly to investigate leads and locate the teenager before she was trafficked to Oklahoma.”
Watch InfoWars founder Alex Jones talk about Operation Lost Souls below.
This video is from the InfoWars channel on Brighteon.com.