The U.S. Department of Justice announced a major bust of 1,700 suspected online child sex offenders who hail from all over the country on Tuesday. The arrests were made as part of an operation known as "Broken Heart" during the months of April and May 2019 and led by the Internet Crimes Against Children task force.
"The task forces identified 308 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse, and 357 children who suffered recent, ongoing or historical sexual abuse or were exploited in the production of child pornography," according to the release.
The operation targeted those individuals who "produce, distribute, receive and possess child pornography, engage in online enticement of children for sexual purposes; engage in the sex trafficking of children; and travel across state lines or to foreign countries and sexually abuse children."
Sixty-one ICAC task forces located in all 50 states made up of more than 4,500 federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, investigated more than 18,500 complains of "technology-facilitated crimes targeting children and delivered more than 2,150 presentations on internet safety to over 201,000 youth and adults."
Attorney General William Barr issued a statement about the major bust.
"The sexual abuse of children is repugnant, and it victimizes the most innocent and vulnerable of all," said Barr. "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. Over the span of just two months, our ICAC task forces investigated more than 18,000 complaints of internet-related abuse and helped arrest 1,700 alleged abusers.
"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. We are committed to bringing the defendants in these cases to justice and protecting every American child," Barr added.
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