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US Department of Justice busts thousands of child sex offenders

The US Department of Justice announced on Tuesday that its Internet Crimes Against Children task force has busted over 2 300 online sexual predators.

Published: June 13, 2018, 8:10 am

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    Washington

    The suspected online child sex offenders were netted during a three-month, nationwide, operation conducted by Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces.

    The task forces identified 195 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse, and 383 children who suffered recent, ongoing, or historical sexual abuse or production of child pornography, the DoJ said in a statement.

    The 61 ICAC task forces, located in all 50 states led the coordinated operation known as “Broken Heart” during the months of March, April, and May 2018.

    “No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “And yet, in recent years, certain forms of modern technology have facilitated the spread of child pornography and created greater incentives for its production.”

    The operation targeted suspects who produce, distribute, receive and possess child pornography; engage in online enticement of children for sexual purposes; engage in the sex trafficking of children; and travel across state lines or to foreign countries and sexually abuse children.

    To date, ICAC Task Forces have reviewed more than 775 000 complaints of child exploitation, which resulted in the arrest of more than 83 000 individuals. In addition, since the ICAC program’s inception, more than 629 400 law enforcement officers, prosecutors and other professionals have been trained on techniques to investigate and prosecute ICAC-related cases, according to the DoJ.

    Some of the world’s most coveted travel destinations such as Cambodia and South Africa also are two of the leading destinations for sex tourism and trafficking.

    In 2016, an estimated 45.8 million people were held in some form of modern slavery in 167 countries, according to The Global Slavery Index. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally.

    A 2015 Walk Free Foundation survey found that of the more than 200 000 victims in forced labor in South Africa, 43 percent are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.

    Katharine Bryant, Walk Free Foundation’s Research Manager, said that while efforts have been made to curb commercial sexual exploitation, the industry is being pushed underground.

    “The recent increase in ‘orphanage tourism’ has also led to situations where children in institutions and orphanages are exposed to exploitation by tourists,” Bryant told impacttravelalliance.org.

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