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Feds cobbled criminal cases together in missing children operation, creating false perception

Public announcements about the operation, vague on details but full of loaded terms, led to weeks of social media misinformation about the breakup of a massive child sex trafficking ring in Georgia. “39 kids were just recovered from traffickers in Georgia,” went a common Twitter trope.

Shareef faces two misdemeanor charges related to the raid, neither of them sex-related. But his jail booking photo spread around the world under headlines such as “U.S. Marshals Find 39 Missing Children During Massive Sex Trafficking Bust In Georgia — 9 Suspects Arrested.” He and his mother told the AJC that angry people have been pulling up to their house, accusing him of sex trafficking or sexually abusing a 3-year-old. One group brandished guns and challenged Shareef to step outside and fight, he said.

“They’re calling me a sex offender,” Shareef said. “They’re calling me a child molester. It just hurts.”

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Source: https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/feds-cobbled-criminal-cases-together-in-missing-children-operation-creating-false-perception/DKRQC2SVVRBCLNOPQ5DBIVTMHM/

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