An estimated one out of seven missing children are victims of sex trafficking per the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – which is an extremely disturbing statistic. Luckily, Saved in America, or SIA, an organization comprised of Navy SEALs, police detectives and other specialists retired from the field, aims to locate and identify every single one.
Using their skills in surveillance and investigation, the team works with authorities to recover exploited children. So far, they’ve successfully recovered 137 of the 137 children who’s cases they’ve taken since forming at the end of 2014. They also connect victims to rehabilitation and therapy, legal help and housing.
According to their website, SIA has more than 30 members working as licensed private investigators. All are retired Navy SEALS, police officers, Marine Recon Raiders and British SAS. They train other agencies – Human Smuggling & Trafficking Center, Washington, DC, Licensed Investigator Associations in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama and the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, California – in their techniques.
Testimonials to their efforts say it all.
The work done to safely recover the juvenile female in the company of her adult boyfriend,  could not have been done as efficiently without the collaboration of everyone involved. . . . [T]hank you for taking the time to contact me and for the work your organization does in protecting our vulnerable youth.
– Sheriff Bill Brown, Santa Barbara Co., CA
We feel that the resources assigned, the approach, the risks associated and the general perception of runaways needs to be challenged. My wife and I appreciate the over 300 hours of service that [SIA] donated to us. You stepped up to the plate when we were in desperate need of searching for our missing 16 year old daughter.
SIA never charges for their time, which is a godsend for parents, especially if their child has run away more than once. While police and sheriff’s departments’ resources are fully stretched, SIA’s mission is to find trafficked kids, which means they are ready to fly into action on a moment’s notice – critical when law enforcement policies use a “wait and see” approach.
“If we can stop the girls at the runaway part, we’ll put a big dent in the sex trafficking part,” the group’s founder Joseph Travers said to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Every sexually exploited child was first a runaway. Not every runaway becomes sexually exploited.”
The unfortunate reality is that we need more highly trained individuals like those in SIA to fight the massive problem of forcing children into sex work.
For more information, to speak to someone about a missing child, to report a tip, or to donate, visit their website at SavedInAmerica.org.
These are true heroes!