The Department of Justice recently announced “the arrest of more than 2,300 suspected online child sex offenders” nabbed in various stings and investigations around the country. All of the pernicious criminals were investigated and arrested by members of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces, who have had remarkable success bridging technological gaps to bring more people to trial in recent years.
• Arrests showed involvement of nearly 195 predators and, heartbreakingly, 383 innocent children. Many involved child sexual abuse and the creation of child pornography.
• Nearly all of the crimes investigated by the 61 different task force members assigned to “project Broken Heart” were technologically facilitated. This included video and image content created, sold, and traded online, as well as alleged sex trafficking of children not even yet in their pre-teens.
• There is evidence that at least some of the child victims identified in Broken Heart were being trafficked across state lines – and potentially, even internationally.
• Unfortunately, this isn’t new; international sex trafficking reached an all-time high in the late 1990s when pimps continuously brought girls as young as 14 into and from Montreal, Toronto, San Ysidro, and Tijuana.
• Jeff Sessions spoke out about the arrests, reminding the public of exactly what was at stake. “No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse,” he said. “We at the Department of Justice are determined to strike back against these repugnant crimes. It is shocking and very sad that in this one operation, we have arrested more than 2,300 alleged child predators and investigated some 25,200 sexual abuse complaints.
• Sessions also sent out a strong warning for would-be molesters and child abusers: “Any would-be criminal should be warned: this Department will remain relentless in hunting down those who victimize our children.”