US Marshals Search for Missing Children in a Mission Few Rarely See

US Marshals have just wrapped up a nationwide operation to help find missing children. They found 200 children who were considered missing and are sometimes children at risk. Marshals invited our Blair Miller to see what they see and why this mission is so important.

US Marshals are often known for going after fugitives on the run.

But they are also on a mission few see. The sheriffs took us with them during their two-week operation to find missing children.

These children are considered some of the most at risk and potentially endangered. We traveled with Deputy US Sheriff Michael Dito and his team of sheriffs through the Washington, DC area. We went to homes, businesses and apartments as they tried to locate the missing children.

“Many of these teens are younger. They don’t really know much better, so they are vulnerable,” Dito said.

In some of these cases, US Marshals are looking for children who have run away from home. But there are also other situations where there is a serious concern with these children.

“We have recovered missing children who are in a dangerous environment, in a dangerous state, and they just need that help,” said Peter Marketos, who is the acting US marshal for the DC region. “The chances are extremely high when it comes to the potential possibility of this becoming a human trafficking situation,” Marketos said.

The most recent data from the Justice Department shows a 62 percent increase in human trafficking in this country over a recent ten-year period.

While we were with the Marshals, they got a tip that one of the missing children they were looking for might be working at a restaurant. He is 17 years old and had run away from home.

When Marshals found him, he broke down in tears begging him to stay.

“I’m sure there are some who would rather not be home and be alone,” Dito said.

Police say the concern is what happens if a child runs away, is potentially recruited into a gang or is exposed to trafficking and sexual abuse.

In this case, the police took him with the intention of reuniting him with his parents, who reported him missing in October of last year. Nationwide, sheriffs found 424 children last year.

“The ultimate goal is to find the most vulnerable among us,” Marketos said.

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