FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Seventeen people have been arrested following an investigation into child trafficking in the Flint area, a sheriff said.
A rescue operation Friday located seven children ages 17 and under, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson said.
A law enforcement team over five months set up six stings in which law enforcement agents posed as 13, 14, and 15-year-old children on social media sites, Swanson said
People who then arrived at locations expecting to be able to assault those children were instead arrested, and will be prosecuted, Swanson said. He did not say which charges they are likely to face, The Flint Journal reported.
The rescue operation included a search for 27 children known to have disappeared, according to information from schools, hospitals, probate courts, the foster care system and other human service agencies, Swanson said.
One 16-year-old girl was found locked in a barn, Swanson said.
"The fear in her eyes was real," he added.
It was the county's third such rescue operation, Swanson said. His team also conducted rescue sweeps in 2018 and 2019, he said.