KNOXVILLE – A multi-agency operation that took place this week has resulted in the recovery of a number of children identified as at-risk or missing in the Knoxville area.
Operation Not Forgotten identified children throughout Knox County and surrounding areas who are considered at-risk based on multiple criteria, such as having a history of being a chronic runaway for extended periods of time, or being a previous victim of human trafficking. Over a two-day period, representatives from the TBI Human Trafficking Unit, TBI Criminal Intelligence Unit, Department of Children’s Services, Knoxville Police Department, and Knox County Sheriff’s Office worked to make contact with 24 at-risk children to ensure their safety and assess their status. The McNabb Center, Grow Free Tennessee, and the Florence Crittenton Agency assisted with the operation and provided support.
The multi-disciplinary approach of the operation was intended to locate or make contact with these at-risk children. The goal was to remove them from any situation in which they may be exploited. The focus was also to provide them with services and contacts that will have an active presence in their lives and ensure they have access to a safe environment. Of the 24 children identified as being at-risk, 12 were recovered during Operation Not Forgotten. In the coming weeks, agencies will continue the efforts to locate those at-risk children who were not found during the operation and continue contact with those who were recovered.
Operation Not Forgotten was the second operation of its kind in Tennessee.
More information about human trafficking and the common contributors can be found at www.ItHasToStop.com.