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June 6, 2022Kansas City, MO, United StatesChild Exploitation

HSI, law enforcement partners arrest 32 individuals suspected of child exploitation during Operation Blue Ghost

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — During Operation Blue Ghost, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Kansas City and HSI Kansas City Child Exploitation Taskforce (KCCET) partners conducted an undercover child exploitation operation in and around Wichita, Kansas, May 17 to June 2, resulting in the arrest of 32 individuals suspected of crimes against children.

“I am extremely proud of all of the special agents, analysts, and officers whose hard work and dedication made this operation a success,” said HSI acting Special Agent in Charge of the Kansas City area of operations R. Sean Fitzgerald. “Our joint commitment to protecting children has removed these 32 dangerous individuals from our streets and hopefully sends a clear message to others looking to harm children.”

During its initial phase, from May 17-19, HSI Wichita and the Wichita Police Department targeted adults willing to travel for the sexual exploitation of a child which resulted in the arrest of 17 individuals for crimes related to aggravated human trafficking, promoting the sale of sex, and the purchase of commercial sex acts.

From May 31-June 2, HSI Kansas City and KCCET partners continued Operation Blue Ghost in and around Independence, Clay County, and Platte County, Missouri. During this operation, HSI Kansas City, Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Platte County Sheriff’s Office, Independence Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Bourbon County Kansas Sheriff’s Office targeted adults willing to travel for the sexual exploitation of a child. During this phase, 15 additional individuals were arrested for crimes related to travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, enticement of a minor, sexual trafficking of a child, furnishing pornographic material to minors, sexual exploitation of a minor, promoting prostitution, aggravated human trafficking, sex trafficking, obscenity and morals offenses, felony assault on a law enforcement officer, felony evading, felony property damage, attempted statutory sodomy, and attempted statutory rape second-degree.

One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set. HSI is recognized as a global leader in this investigative discipline, and is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and non-government partnerships to:

  • Identify and rescue child victims.
  • Identify and apprehend offenders.
  • Prevent transnational child sexual abuse.
  • Help make the internet a safer place for children.

HSI personnel around the world work tirelessly to protect children from exploitation by predators who are involved in the production, distribution and possession of child sexual abuse material and who travel internationally to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors. HSI employs the latest technology to collect evidence and track the activities of individuals and organized groups who sexually exploit children using the dark web, chat rooms, peer-to-peer trading, and other internet-based platforms.

Learn more about HSI’s mission to combat child exploitation mission in your community @HSIKansasCity.

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.