Technology-facilitated crimes against children are increasing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.
Task forces organized nationwide by the Justice Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children project arrested 2,300 suspected child sex offenders this spring, the department announced on Tuesday.
Dubbed “Operation Broken Heart,” the coordinated effort by 4,500 state, local and tribal law enforcement teams responded to more than 25,200 complaints about technology-facilitated crimes against children.
From March to May 2018, the task forces identified 195 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse, Justice reported. They also found 383 children who suffered recent, ongoing or historical sexual abuse, or involvement in the production of child pornography.
"No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "And yet, in recent years, certain forms of modern technology have facilitated the spread of child pornography and created greater incentives for its production. Any would-be criminal should be warned: this department will remain relentless in hunting down those who victimize our children."
Funded since 1998 through Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the task forces focused on suspects seen to produce, distribute, receive and possess child pornography; entice children online for sexual purposes; engage in child sex trafficking or travel across state lines or to foreign countries to sexually abuse children.
Over the past 20 years, the project has reviewed more than 775,000 complaints of child exploitation, caused the arrest of more than 83,000 individuals and trained more than 629,400 law enforcement officers, prosecutors and other professionals in prosecutions in this area.
As an investment in the future, the task forces have delivered more than 3,700 presentations on internet safety to more than 390,000 adults and young people.