WILMINGTON, Del. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) – working collaboratively with law enforcement partners including the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Delaware – have successfully prosecuted a number of child exploitation cases targeting the most dangerous offenders. Some of the recent cases since April 1 are included in this fact sheet.
Each year, millions of children fall prey to sexual predators. These young victims are left with permanent psychological, physical and emotional scars. HSI targets sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. Seeking to end this criminal activity and protect children worldwide, HSI developed Operation Predator, an initiative to identify, investigate and arrest child predators and sexual offenders. Operation Predator draws on HSI's unique investigative and enforcement authorities to safeguard children. Coordinated nationally and internationally, Operation Predator brings together an array of HSI disciplines and resources to target these child sex abusers.
HSI special agents continue to target individuals who: commit acts of physical sexual abuse of children; use the Internet to meet or to attempt to meet children for sexual purposes; produce or attempt to produce pornography featuring children; distribute large quantities of child pornography; or are repeat offenders who have previously been convicted of such crimes.
U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III, District of Delaware, and Special Agent in Charge John P. Kelleghan, HSI Philadelphia, discussed some of these cases that have been investigated and prosecuted – or are in the process of prosecution – in Delaware since April 1 at a press conference today in Wilmington. The HSI office in Philadelphia oversees HSI activities throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.