Over 2,300 suspected online child sex offenders were arrested over the course of a “three-month, nationwide, operation conducted by Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces,” the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
The investigation identified 195 suspected offenders who allegedly produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse, as well as 383 children who suffered recent, ongoing or historical sexual abuse or who were used in the production of child pornography, according to a published report by the Department of Justice.
The operation, named “Broken Heart,” was carried out from March to May 2018 and involved 61 ICAC task forces across all 50 states, that specifically included 4,500 federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies. During the three-month period, “the task forces investigated more than 25,200 complaints of technology-facilitated crimes against children and delivered more than 3,700 presentations on Internet safety to 390,000 youth and adults,” according to the report.
“No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “And yet, in recent years, certain forms of modern technology have facilitated the spread of child pornography and created greater incentives for its production. We at the Department of Justice are determined to strike back against these repugnant crimes.
The operation targeted suspects who they believed had violated any of the following:
Produce, distribute, receive and possess child pornography
Engage in online enticement of children for sexual purposes
Engage in the sex trafficking of children
Travel across state lines or to foreign countries to sexually abuse children
The report adds that since its launch in 1998, the ICAC program has resulted in more than 83,000 arrests.