Human trafficking investigation in Ohio leads to 45 missing children

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) – A statewide operation into human trafficking in Ohio has led to the recovery of 45 missing children.

Ohio Attorney General David Yost was joined by federal, state, and local law enforcement for a press conference about the recoveries Monday.

Operation “Autumn Hope” also led to 169 arrests.

AG Yost tweeted information about the arrest of a former Portsmouth city council member and attorney last week.

Michael Mearan was arrested on human trafficking charges Friday.

One case involved a girl who was missing from Cleveland.

According to a press release, the 15-year-old was “high-risk.”

She was found in Columbus with other possible victims of human trafficking.

A similar statewide operation led to the rescue of 35 children in Cuyahoga County in September.

The US Marshals Service in Ohio has recovered more than 2,000 missing children since 2005, according to a press release.

“These are the same personnel who hunt down violent fugitives every day. I’m incredibly proud of them and pleased that they were able to apply those same skills to finding missing children. I know Operation Autumn Hope has made a difference in a lot of young lives,” said Peter C. Tobin, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio.

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