SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — More than 5,000 students from the public and private schools in Puerto Rico received tips on how to avoid falling victim to online sexual predators Tuesday and Wednesday at the Ruben Zayas Montañez Coliseum in Trujillo Alto. The presentation was part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Project iGuardian launched in March.
As part of Project iGuardian, HSI special agents in San Juan organized the largest Internet safety outreach for kids 12 to 16 years old to provide them with the necessary tools to make smart decisions when navigating in the Internet. HSI San Juan made the massive event possible by soliciting the support of the public and private sector engaging the Puerto Rico Department of Education, which arranged the transportation of students from 51 schools in the San Juan and Carolina areas to the Ruben Zayas Montañez Coliseum, as well as that of the HSI San Juan Citizens Academy.
The acting Governor of Puerto Rico David Bernier and the Puerto Rico Secretary of Justice attended the event and described it as unique and necessary and expressed their commitment to continue supporting HSI's initiative. All heads of federal agencies represented in Puerto Rico participated of the event and provided their personnel and equipment for the exhibits that followed the Internet safety presentations. According to the participating agencies, cyber safety education not only aids in prevention, it also frequently generates valuable case leads.
HSI will be working closely with its partner law enforcement agencies in Puerto Rico to coordinate and conduct Project iGuardian presentations. The initiative builds on the outreach already being conducted by the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force in which local, state and federal law enforcement agencies work together with local and state government agencies to effectively pool their resources to jointly investigate all crimes against children in Puerto Rico. Through the task force, law enforcement officers are encouraged to share evidence, ideas, and investigative and forensic tools to ensure the most successful prosecutions possible. As such, PRCACTF allows law enforcement to speak with one unified voice in defense of the children of Puerto Rico.
At the end of the event, Jose Luis Cruz Cruz, mayor of Trujillo Alto, passed the baton to the municipality of Toa Baja, where the massive event will take place next year.