The Department of Justice has announced that 2,300 people were arrested during a recent, nationwide and online operation that spanned over three months and every state in the United States. Operation “Broken Heart” sought out four types of people:

  1. Those who are involved, in any capacity, in the production and distribution of child pornography.
  2. Those who go online seeking a sexual relationship with a child, “enticing” them toward such ends.
  3. Anyone involved in the sex trafficking of children.
  4. Sex tourists who travel overseas (or to other states) to abuse children sexually.

Read about sex tourism and the recent changes to the U.S. Passport to identify child sex offenders here.

The investigation was significant, and it involved over 4,500 law enforcement agencies in the United States, all working together to catch these perpetrators — this meant coordinating federal, local and tribal efforts to not only subdue the criminals, but to spread awareness and offer tools for local agencies to better combat child abuse in any form in the future. On top of their investigations and arrests, they gave thousands of presentations to those ends, to just under 400,000 people.

These investigatory entities were working together under the umbrella of Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces. The ICAC’s mission reads as follows:

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program (ICAC) helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation and Internet crimes against children. This support encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, prevention and community education.”

This national network serves to combine the powers of  law enforcement to better track down offenders who would sexually abuse children, or benefit from the illicit business. The ICAC is funded via the Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

According to the DOJ, the ICAC has,

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.”

As a result of the operation, the DOJ said that,

The [61] 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.”

This is another effort in the long battle against human trafficking within the United States; among these cases, some of the most heart-wrenching involve children.

Featured image by freestocks.org on Unsplash.

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