Detroit, MI – The U.S. Marshals Service – Detroit Missing Child Recovery Unit, U.S. Marshals Service Sex Offender Investigations Branch, Michigan State Police and law enforcement officers from Wayne County agencies participated in Operation MISafeKid, a missing juvenile sweep to identify and recover missing children from the area with an emphasis on locating victims of sex trafficking.
The one-day initiative took place Sept. 26 throughout Wayne County. The USMS DMCRU coordinated with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, HUD-OIG, Detroit Police Department and the Michigan State Police and investigated missing child case files prior to the operation. Participating officers were given the case files and began investigating their whereabouts by visiting last known addresses, friend’s homes and schools in hopes of finding them in a safe place.
Out of 301 files of missing children, 123 were identified and recovered safely during the operation. All 123 children were physically located and interviewed — standard protocol for the Michigan State Police. All of the children located were interviewed about potentially being sexually victimized or used in a sex trafficking ring during their period of time that they were deemed missing. Three cases were identified as being possible sex trafficking cases, and one homeless teen was transported back to the command post after it was discovered that he had not had anything to eat in three days. He was then debriefed and turned over to Child Protective Services for aftercare.
This is the first time an operation of this kind has been conducted in Wayne County. USMS DMCRU was requested to assist on 30 missing child cases two weeks prior to the sweep. These cases were adopted by the U.S. Marshals Service and assigned to deputy U.S. marshals. DMCRU located and recovered nine children prior to the sweep and an additional seven during the operation. The Michigan State Police Clearing House has asked for continued assistance on the remaining 14 cases. Additionally, information was obtained by DMCRU on two missing children in Texas and one in Minnesota. DMCRU has been requested to assist on these recoveries and is actively investigating them at this time.
The Eastern District of Michigan is fully committed to assisting state and local agencies with locating and recovering missing children and the prevention of their falling victim to sex trafficking. The Detroit Missing Child Recovery Unit is tasked with investigating and recovering missing children upon request by a law enforcement agency currently attempting to locate a missing child. The message to the missing children and their families that we wish to convey is that we will never stop looking for you.
Agencies involved in the operation included the USMS Detroit DMCRU (SOIB), Michigan State Police, Allen Park Police Department, Canton Police Department, Dearborn Heights Police Department, Detroit Police Department, Detroit Public Schools Police Department, FBI, Flat Rock Police Department, Inkster Police Department, Northville Township Police Department, Plymouth Police Department, Redford Township Police Department, Riverview Police Department, Romulus Police Department, Trenton Police Department, Van Buren Township Police Department, Wayne Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff’s Department as well as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and its Children’s Protective Services (CPS) and Vista Maria Juvenile Detention Center.