Heroes Who Fight Human Trafficking

Over the last few months, while many of us were preoccupied with politics and the pandemic, U.S. Marshals bravely carried out a series of nationwide operations which rescued hundreds of human trafficking victims in at least 7 states.

These victimized women, runaway youngsters and children had been enslaved into a dangerous and deadly lifestyle by criminals who used their captive’s bodies to enrich themselves.

I’m betting you probably didn’t hear much about this. In a time when its popular to bash anyone with a badge, teams of Marshals quietly joined with dozens of other federal, state and local law enforcement officers to liberate these lost souls.

Not only were victims saved during these sweeps, their captors were arrested and charged with multiple felonies that could mean years in prison. These raids, with names like “Operation Not Forgotten” and “Operation Patriot” were carried out in places you would think were relatively safe.

In Ohio – primarily in Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus – “Operation Autumn Hope” recently liberated 109 trafficking survivors, including 46 children. Among the 179 suspects arrested were both captors and johns looking to buy sex, often with a minor. That operation followed the August rescue of another 25 children under the age of 18.

U.S. Marshals at Work – courtesy: KankakeeCountySheriff.org

In the same state, but not connected to the Marshals’ operations, a former Portsmouth city councilman and attorney was recently arrested and charged with 18 felony counts of promoting and compelling the prostitution of nearly 30 women, several of whom faced drug charges and came to him seeking legal representation. Michael Mearan, 74, now faces up to 70 years in prison.

The Cincinnati Enquirer published an investigation into Mearan’s activities last year reporting that for decades he had supplied his young female clients with drugs “In exchange for and as an incentive to participate in acts of prostitution.” One woman who worked for Mearan was found dead of “multiple traumas” in 2013, another woman has been missing since that same year.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said the message should be loud and clear, “Don’t buy sex in Ohio!”

This is not a problem unique to the Buckeye State. If you think this couldn’t be happening in your area realize the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports incidents of child sex trafficking have been reported in all 50 states.

Mugshot of Michael Mearan

In Georgia, “Operation Not Forgotten” carried out by U.S. Marshals and a task force of federal, state and local agencies recently located 39 missing children aged 3 to 17. Many were victims of sex trafficking. Nine suspects were arrested.

In Oklahoma, “Operation Triple Beam” stretched over two months. Ultimately, 262 people were arrested, mostly gang members (including six murder suspects) and five missing children were discovered. The kids are now in protective custody.

In Fort Bend County, Texas near Houston, “Operation Patriot” resulted in the rescue of five human trafficking victims and the arrest of 46 suspects, both those who offered up the victims and those who paid for sex. The local District Attorney, Brian Middleton, warned authorities will continue to be “relentless” in their pursuit of criminals on both the “supply” and the “demand” side of this crime.

In Missouri, 2020 year-to-date, there have been 36 rescues, and 106 arrests. The latest case stemmed from suspicious incidents at an 1-70 truck stop in tiny Oak Grove, east of Kansas City. Local police were able to rescue 10 women and three small children who are now in state care. The Missouri Attorney General says his next sex trafficking target is Missouri’s illicit massage industry.

The Unofficial Motto of the U.S. Marshals Service -wikimedia

In September, in Southern Indiana U.S. Marshals rescued 8 missing and exploited children. On November 1st Marshals helped recover 27 missing and endangered kids in Virginia.

Sex trafficking doesn’t just happen in faraway countries. It is happening right here in the United States to the most innocent and vulnerable among us.

The U.S. Marshals Service, established in 1789, is the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency. In 2015, the service was authorized to assist in locating and recovering missing children. Today, the Marshals say its state-by-state operations to cripple this modern-day slave trade are ongoing.

It’s easy to miss law enforcement’s good works. I didn’t want that to happen with this mission.



  1. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 8:34 am

    Gunhild Vetter writes:

    Hi Diane:

    Just wanted to thank you for the op-ed telling the story of Marshals lead fight to save trafficked women, kids. As a former law enforcement officer it is always good to read positive stories about what law enforcement is doing today. It is literally also an answer to prayer for the victims of sex trafficking and arrest and prosecution of those who are the offenders. Several years ago I saw a documentary about sex trafficking and they were saying that the offenders were often people of influence in various professions, politicians, Hollywood, etc. For the sake of the victims it would be nice to see those in ritzy rags today, trading them in for orange jumpsuits and get what they deserve.
    Strange how the news media never carry stories like this, guess they really are the fake news.
    God Bless and keep up your good work.

    Gunhild Vetter

  2. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 8:39 am

    Marleen Lesher writes:

    Thank you to the men and women who spend their every waking moment for this noble and just cause. I can’t imagine the hell the victims go through and what their lives will be like on their road to recovery once they are rescued. I say a pray and thank god I have never been so unjustly treated and abused. Thank you to the officers of the law for your service.

  3. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 8:40 am

    cynthiaoutdoors writes:

    Thank you Epoch for running this article. It made me cry. To our brave men and women in law enforcement…. THANK YOU and may God speed your work and keep you safe.

  4. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 8:40 am

    Eyed.by writes:

    Hell has a special place for people that harm children is better they tie a millstone around their neck and cast themselves into the deepest darkest depths they’d better pray the Marshalls got them first. I Would to give them some anti-trafficking… introduce them to those rural gravel roads miles and miles of it until there’s a little left of the bones.

  5. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 8:40 am

    larry berg writes:

    Thank you to our police for stopping this horrible crime.

  6. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 8:42 am

    timmerritt2004 writes:

    Anyone who uses children or underage people for financial gain ought to be shot, period. It is worse than Sick, as young people are instinctively good, until they are put into a position where exploitation is key. Thank God to all who work to stop this sickness….I can not help but think of the Epstein BS in regards to all this, though many with Money and Power are to blame, which is part of the problem with the Corruption of our Election, actually Fraud. Sedition is the Fact of the Matter.

  7. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 8:42 am

    snoborder81 writes:

    Please help support Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R)!! They are doing fantastic work in our country as well as countries around the world to help save child slaves, arresting those who traffic them, and help rehabilitate those they save. They met with Trumps team several years ago and they have been receiving a bit more funding, but they can always use more help!!!

  8. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 8:43 am

    Sandra Kelly writes:

    True heroes.

    Thank you for, Diane, for chronicling this

  9. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 8:43 am

    rx4piano writes:

    Thank you Diane and our hero’s.
    So where were these traffickers taking so many women and children??? The Clinton/Epstein compound? (That’s a generic for perverts and pedophiles)
    Rescue is wonderful but there remains a demand out there.

  10. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 8:44 am

    America First writes:

    This remains a VERY important topic!

  11. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Micky Mitchell writes:

    Thank you to the heroes. Thank you for reporting the success in the fight against human trafficking. I have read every article. I followed human trafficking, especially where it involves children, for five years, when a friend became a member of a counter-human trafficking organization. People need to be aware that this is a profound problem in our country.

  12. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 8:45 am

    Priscella Phipps writes:

    President Trump signed a bill granting federal funds to aid in the prevention of human trafficking and to aid the victims. The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act opens up $430 million in federal funds for human trafficking prevention and education, victim assistance and tougher prosecution. Trump signed a second bill for human sex trafficking but again, the mainstream media has remained silent, just as they have remained silent about Trump’s FIVE nominations for a Nobel Peace Prize.

  13. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 8:47 am

    FIRSST writes:

    The Law Business and the Crime Business are two sides of the same coin. The collaboration of the Law and Crime Businesses in the Silver Bullet child abduction and extortion scam has existed for decades due to the anti-family bias of the Supreme Court. The greatest victims are innocent children, who are driven from safe homes to become victims of child traffickers and child abusers. It’s a huge decades-old covert industry and Jeffrey Epstein’s biggest supplier. Children under the care of dysfunctional mothers are driven onto the street, to become feedstock for the illegal drug, child trafficking and child sex industries. The Law Business and the Crime Business collaborate – because it’s good for business. They are Jeffrey Epstein’s suppliers and his best friends.


    “The case received new public scrutiny after an investigative report published by The Miami Herald in November quoted four of Mr. Epstein’s victims, who are now adults, on the record for the first time.

  14. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Sherrie Simek writes:

    Dear Diane…

    I subscribe to the Albuquerque Journal, which carries your column. Thank you for your insightful and thoughtful writings.
    I felt the urge to acknowledge you after reading the article titled “Marshals lead fight to save trafficked women, kids”. I appreciate your good words on the works of our law enforcement.

    Sherrie Simek

  15. Diane Dimond on November 9, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    4rooney writes:

    Yes!!! This is what this administration had been doing from day 1!!!!! Getting these rings all over the world! The Kasem cares Foundation received presidential awards and were nominated by the ambassador against Human & child trafficking! She told us at that time that we will never see any administration as this go after so many! Not even mentioned in news!!! About It. What she shared with us was a video from all over. It is seared on my heart! I only pray that this will continue for these children. ❤️❤️

Leave a Comment