Mexico City, MEXICO — U.S. Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne and representatives from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) hosted a three-day law enforcement symposium in Mexico City to help further bi-lateral efforts to continue combating the online sexual exploitation of children.
The Honorable Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam attended the event and provided opening remarks on the importance of collaboration in this initiative. Other distinguished speakers included Head of the Unit of Development and Institutional Integration of the National Security Commission Nora Leticia Frías Melgoza and Undersecretary of Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Secretary of Governance Lía Limón García.
Law enforcement officials from Mexico and representatives from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, other non-governmental organizations and private industries also participated in the symposium. HSI provided numerous training sessions and presentations.
Ambassador Wayne said, "Unifying our efforts is what brings us here together -- to help protect the children who have been victimized by these monsters or even more importantly preventing others from becoming victims themselves. Our children live in a technological era and we need to prepare them appropriately. Another critical component in our fight against predators is the media. Without the media's help, we simply cannot reach those who need to be reached. We are literally defending the defenseless. We have to continue to attack this issue together, both governments working together and a number of agencies within each of our governments."
Attorney Murillo said, "I'm convinced that when it comes to an issue such as this, it is crucial to treat before rather than act after, in other words, prevention is essential.... Something as important, as useful, as capable of creating bridges between society and the world as the Internet, can also have deleterious effects, generating this kind of attitude or behavior; how do we fight it without affecting what is good about it. What can we do (and this is the central issue to this meeting) to prevent this tool from being a means to cross borders and reach our children, deforming from the beginning what should be a mindset geared towards creating a more harmonious society."
This event was held as part of HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. 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. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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-THE-LOST.
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.