More than 150 children were recovered as part of a sting operation in North Carolina and are being reunited with their families as part of Operation Carolina Homecoming.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said they located more than 130 children in an initial sweep and round up. Authorities added 27 more missing children with tips on the children’s whereabouts between April 26 and May 7.
A majority the juveniles were involved in “high-risk activities such as prostitution and narcotics activity, and a few of them were victims of human trafficking,” according to investigators.
They also say the recovery of so many victims is nothing short of a miracle. Unfortunately, North Carolina has consistently been ranked as a top ten state for human trafficking. In 2019 alone, the Human Trafficking Hotline reported 385 calls from victims in the state, according to the Charlotte Observer.
The COVID-19 pandemic has decreased the number of missing individuals in North Carolina. But a problem still persists even as the country pushes past the virus. Law enforcement officials believe there are multitude of factors that contribute to the high figures of human trafficking, including easy accessibility for flights out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.