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FBI working to protect children from human trafficking

The FBI said that parents need to have open and honest communication with their kids about the dangers that going online can pose.

MIDLAND, Texas — Finding children who have either run away or been trafficked is becoming a bigger concern for law enforcement.

It was just a few days ago that 70 children were found and recovered in Midland, Ector, El Paso and Tom Green counties after a three week long operation.

Many of those children were runaways and some were also victims of abuse and trafficking.

Missing children, whether they are running away or being trafficked, are a big concern for law enforcement. This is why government agencies such as the FBI will work hand-in-hand with local law enforcement.

"We work very closely with our local law-enforcement partners," Aida Reyes, the FBI's Supervisory Special Agent of the Violent Crimes Against Children and Human Trafficking Squad, said. "So whenever there is an effort to locate children or to try and find to avert a disaster of somebody taking a child or engaging in sexual activity with a child, we do collaborate amongst all of us and put resources into making sure that we find these children."

So what should you do if a child is missing? The local police must be your first call because they can't work on a missing child case if it isn't reported.

"Call 911, contact your local police department," Reyes said. "They are the ones that are first responders. If they need assistance, they'll go ahead and reach out to us, but that’s step number one. Making sure that you provide all the information to the police department, as much information as you can."

In a day and age where technology is within arm's reach, the FBI is utilizing technology, like an FBI Child ID app, if a parent is ever faced with a missing child.

"It is an app where you can take a photo, a recent photo of your child, just in case something happens, it’ll walk you through the steps of what to do if your child is missing," Reyes said.

A lot of concerns about trafficking can start online, which means that while agencies such as the FBI can utilize technology to help locate potential runaway or trafficked children, parents also need to have conversations about some of the dangers being online can pose.

"At the end of the day, we want to make sure that we keep our children safe," Reyes said. "If we see something suspicious, talk to them. Have an open line of communication with your children and make sure that we know who they’re hanging out with."

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