31 minors rescued in search for missing children in Miami-Dade

MIAMI.- “We will find you” is the name of the nationwide police operation carried out in areas with a high number of missing children, which led to the location of 31 missing children in the county in ten days, said Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, the Miami-Dade state attorney, at a press conference.

“This is the first time that an operation of this type has been carried out nationwide with the goal of finding missing children and drawing attention to the existence of this ‘epidemic’ in our community and throughout the United States,” the prosecutor told reporters on Monday, July 1.

“In ten days we located and rescued 31 minors,” said Fernandez-Rundle, confirming that investigations had been opened in all cases that “we believe could lead to charges of human trafficking,” he announced.

The prosecutor stressed that the operation “We Will Find You”, carried out in early June, “gave them the opportunity to see how cooperation between federal, state and local agencies works,” and underlined the connection between the disappearance of minors and human trafficking.

“According to the prosecutor, in the US one in three teenagers who run away from home is recruited for sex trafficking within the first 48 hours of leaving home.”

In 2021, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children assisted 25,000 reported cases, in which one in six was a victim of human and sexual trafficking.

The official wanted to emphasize how vulnerable children, lacking love and attention, who live in broken families, become easy targets for traffickers.

“They are minors desperate for love and attention,” he insisted.

Where does Florida rank in terms of the number of children reported missing?

He went on to point out that Florida, with 30,000 cases, ranks third among the states with the highest number of children reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, surpassed only by California in first place and Texas in second.

In 2022, 1,500 minors were reported missing from their homes in Miami-Dade and Monroe.

The prosecutor urged the media to address the issue “because we need the eyes and ears of this community to help us find, identify, rescue and save the lives of these children.”

He warned that cooperative efforts among federal, state and local agencies will continue “as long as criminals seek to exploit our youth.”

The press conference was also attended by a representative from the US Marshals’ office, Gadyaces S. Serralta, the Special Agent in Charge of the FDLE, Felipe Williams, the Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, Stephanie V. Daniels, and other local police officials.

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