FBI: 231 children rescued during Operation Safe Summer II

More than 200 children who were missing or exploited are in safe hands.

The rescue operation dubbed "Safe Summer II" was a joint effort with 27 different Georgia law enforcement agencies headed up by the FBI's Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking (MATCH) task force.

Between the start of the month and May 24, 231 children were located across the metro Atlanta area.

"Thanks to the month-long efforts of our partners, 231 children are no longer vulnerable to predators who would seek to exploit them," said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. "Operation Safe Summer is another example of the FBI's commitment to protecting our children before they become victims."

In 2018, more than 23,500 runaways were reported with one in seven believed to be part of child sex trafficking across the country. The FBI said 11 percent of endangered runaways turn to gangs. About 419 missing or runaway children are believed to be on the streets of the five-county metro region as of March 2019, according to the FBI.

The end of the operation coincided with National Missing Children's Day, May 25.