MEXICO CITY — The U.S. Embassy and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Mexico City hosted a two-day law enforcement symposium in Mexico City to help further international efforts in combating the online sexual exploitation of children.
Law enforcement representatives from the United States, Mexico, Chile, Guatemala, Argentina and Colombia were among the participants. Google, Microsoft, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children provided numerous training sessions and presentations discussing cutting-edge technology and law enforcement techniques.
"We know that child sexual predators are on the Internet looking to exploit our children. They use new technologies and new platforms, like social media, to perpetuate their crimes. With the evolution of technology, now more than ever we need our industry partners to support law enforcement efforts. We need the minds of those who have created these magnificent tools to help ensure that they are used for good as was the original intent," said Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne.
"HSI is committed to building global alliances to combat online child predators here and abroad," said John Connolly, HSI assistant director for International Affairs. "When it comes to protecting our children, we recognize that it is a fight that must be confronted together without divisions or borders."
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. The Merida Initiative is supporting HSI's Child Exploitation Investigations program with over $6 million designated over the next two years.
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.