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Barr’s DOJ arrests nearly 1,700 in child sex abuse sting
Under the leadership of Attorney General William Barr, the Justice Department is cracking down on online sex offenders who prey on helpless children.
Over the last two months, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has arrested more than 1,000 pedophiles in a sweeping operation code-named “Broken Heart.”
Operation Broken Heart
Investigating some 18,500 “complaints of technology-facilitated crimes targeting children,” law enforcement went after criminals who produce child pornography, prey on children for sexual reasons, and operate sex trafficking rings that frequently cross state and international borders.
“The sexual abuse of children is repugnant, and it victimizes the most innocent and vulnerable of all,” Barr said in a department press release. “We must bring the full force of the law against sexual predators, and with the help of our Internet Crimes Against Children program, we will,” he promised.
In total, law enforcement personnel took down nearly 1,700 “suspected online child sex offenders” in just 60 days. The Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force took down 308 predators who either produced child pornography or otherwise committed some form of child sexual abuse.
More importantly, 357 children were rescued who experienced “recent, ongoing or historical sexual abuse or were exploited in the production of child pornography,” according to the DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs. The operation was nearly unprecedented in its scope and magnitude, combining assets from 4,500 law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, local, and tribal level, and organizing them into 61 ICAC task forces.
“I would like to thank our Office of Justice Programs, all of the task force members, and especially the state and local partners who helped us achieve these important results,” Barr said. “We are committed to bringing the defendants in these cases to justice and protecting every American child.”
Besides taking dangerous criminals off of the streets, Operation Broken Heart also utilized prevention training techniques to warn children about the perils of “technology-facilitated crimes.” Officials reached out to more than 200,000 youth and adults in 2,150 presentations on internet safety and child sex crimes.
Addressing law enforcement officials at the National Law Enforcement Training on Child Exploitation Conference, Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Edward O’Callaghan said that “the results of Operation Broken Heart demonstrate what is possible when law enforcement agencies at every level come together to solve complex cases and bring criminals to justice.”
The ICAC program was established in 1998 to combine the efforts of state and federal law enforcement agencies to tackle the emerging threat of online child exploitation. Since then, the program has reviewed more than 922,000 complains of child abuse, resulting in the arrest of 95,500 sexual predators.
The Trump administration has ramped up efforts to combat human trafficking, passing legislation that holds websites accountable for facilitating online sex trafficking and dismantling dozens of criminal organizations that are engaged in modern-day sex slavery.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior advisor, has taken the lead toward this endeavor, lobbying Congress, working with survivors, and mobilizing the president’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF). She delivered a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, announcing the administration’s $25 million contribution to the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery.
With an aggressive attorney general at the helm, the DOJ promises to continue its campaign to eradicate child sex crimes — one carefully organized operation at a time.
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