In a statement released this week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced that it had identified 552 victims of child sexual exploitation to date in 2014.
Many of these victims were discovered through new technologies that are fighting child abuse, while others were identified through child sex trafficking and child abuse imagery busts like “Operation Caireen,” in which HSI arrested 71 in New York for child sexual exploitation in late May.
Identifying Victims of Child Sexual Exploitation
In 2013, HSI identified and rescued more than 900 children and arrested more than 2,000 individuals for sexual crimes against children under Operation Predator, HSI’s nationwide initiative to protect children from sexual predators. And this year already looks to be on track to surpass those numbers. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children.
As shocking as these numbers are, HSI’s identifications demonstrate a significant effort and progress in the fight against child sexual exploitation.
Children At Risk for Child Sexual Exploitation
As HSI points out, summer vacation is a time when children and teens often have more access to the Internet, which may put them at higher risk for child sexual exploitation. We have written several articles calling attention to youth at risk, and encourage you to take a look at our blog post about the warning signs for children at risk for child sex trafficking.
Read HSI’s original announcement here.
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