The US Marshals Service UU He said a major effort to find missing children and victims of sex trafficking in a Michigan county resulted in the recovery of 123 children in September. But state police said only four of the children were missing.
According to the Michigan State Police, most of the children were reported missing and then returned to their homes, but their Guardians did not notify the police, according to The Detroit News. The revelation suggests that the service may have greatly exaggerated the success of the operation in a press release on October 3.
"Of the 301 files of missing children, 123 were identified and recovered safely during the operation," the US Marshals Service announced. UU., Promoting the results of an initiative called Operation MISafeKid. "The 123 children were physically located and interviewed … about the possibility of being sexually victimized or used in a sex trafficking network during the period of time when they were considered missing."
Numerous national and international media picked up the press release and reported on the success of Operation MISafeKid, which the US Marshals Service. UU He described it as "the first of its kind in Michigan's Wayne County," which includes Detroit.
A widely quoted line in the press release says: "The message to missing children and their families that we want to convey is that we will never stop looking for you."
"Many of those children seemed to be forgotten," Nicole Villanueva, a member of the Kent County Trafficking Task Force, told WZZM News of Grand Rapids. "It was great to see the effort put into finding them."
While the press release says that "three cases were identified as possible cases of sex trafficking, and a homeless teenager was transferred back to the command post," it does not explain where the remaining 119 children were found. Michigan State Police lieutenant Michael Shaw said many of those children were not roaming the streets or in the hands of criminals; they were found with their guardians.
"Many were (educated at home)," he told The Detroit News. "Some were also fugitives."
Shaw said that although it was reported that these children had disappeared and that they still appeared on police computers as missing, the police determined that their guardians did not notify the police when they returned home.
That information was not highlighted in the US Marshals Service press release. UU., Which, based on Shaw's assertions, seems to have been drafted to adorn the results of the initiative.
Michigan State Police Lieutenant Michael Shaw said many of these children were not roaming the streets or in the hands of criminals; were found with their guardians
Asked for a comment, the service said in an email on Wednesday morning: "Someone from our office in the Eastern District of Michigan will send an email very soon. "
As of the publication of this article, the agency had not provided another response. Its parent agency, the Department of Justice, did not respond to a request for comment.
When asked why the researchers could not determine before the operation that many of the children who had reported missing were found, Shaw told HuffPost that the protocols vary by department.
"In Michigan, missing persons are reported to local, county or state authorities," he said. "Each agency has its own protocol on how these cases are investigated. Michigan has an average of approximately 1,000 out-of-control reports per week throughout the state. "
Send an email to David Lohr or follow him on Facebook and Twitter. is a teenager who has run away from home or a teenager who is thinking of running away from home or if you know someone who is, visit National Runaway Safeline or call 1-800-RUNAWAY.