KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Law enforcement officers in Missouri helped bring almost two dozen runaway foster children to safety.
Their efforts were part of Operation H.O.P.E., led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"It just breaks my heart to see these kids aren't being cared for," Sgt. Bill Lowe with Missouri State Highway Patrol said.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol worked with 100 local, state and federal agencies to find children who ran away from their foster homes. This week in Kansas City, Jefferson City and St. Louis, officers found 23 runaway children through Operation H.O.P.E.
The initiative also led to a handful of arrests and about four investigations into human trafficking cases.
"Individuals are going to try to entice them to what they would call a better way of life, which is obviously not a better way of life," Lowe said.
Lowe said the kids will get new foster homes and parents and in some instances, away from dangerous traffickers.
"These kids are already in a position where they're vulnerable, and when someone is preying their vulnerability, it's even more disturbing and it's even more heartbreaking," Lowe said.