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149 missing or exploited children located in 25 days: FBI Atlanta

The scene after suspect Jaquan Barnes was arrested in Sandy Springs in May 2018.
The scene after suspect Jaquan Barnes was arrested in Sandy Springs in May 2018.

One night last month, Sandy Springs officers stopped a 22-year-old suspect from fleeing a hotel. The incident led to Jaquan Barnes being charged with sex trafficking, among other offenses, and the recovery of an exploited 17-year-old girl.

That case is of one of many included in the results of FBI Atlanta Field Office’s Operation Safe Summer, a collaborative initiative that took place from May 1 to May 25. Nearly 40 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies were led in the effort by the FBI’s Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation Task Force.

In another instance, Trevey Parks was federally indicted May 23 on charges that included producing a sexually explicit image of a minor. Parks, from Fulton County, was on the sex offender registry for a 2013 conviction at the time of the arrest.

More than 4,300 sex offenders were registered in metro Atlanta as of March, said FBI Atlanta spokesman Kevin Rowson.

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In Dunwoody, police conducted an operation on May 22 in which they made 13 arrests. The majority of arrests were on prostitution charges, but the two people who brought two 17-year-old girls to the location were arrested for alleged pimping and human trafficking.

One of the girls was taken to a hospital for an evaluation and then turned over to the Division of Family and Children Services for return to Ohio; the other was released to a family member.

The more than 470 metro Atlanta children listed as runaway or missing at the operation’s onset “represent a large pool of potential victims of the commercial sex trade,” said Rowson. For instance, a 15-year-old female runaway from Tennessee was found in Sandy Springs on May 4, along with a 17-year-old who was released to her mother.

Rowan added that kids are at a greater risk of online enticement and exploitation “than ever before due” to advanced technology and the increased use of social media platforms.

The operation's goal was to "combat child exploitation and child sex trafficking and make our community safer for our children heading into the summer months," a press release said. It was conducted in May to "raise awareness and send an important message at a time the community's children are most vulnerable to becoming targets for exploitation."

Here are the results: 

• 149 missing or exploited children ages 3-17 were identified and/or located

• 158 judicial actions — such as arrests, citations, indictments or sentencings

• 1,674 total law enforcement contacts — such as compliance checks, law enforcement operations or warrants

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