ICE, UK National Crime Agency enhance joint efforts to combat child exploitation
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Sarah R. Saldaña and U.K. National Crime Agency (NCA) Director General Keith Bristow officially signed an agreement June 25 in London to provide information on the travel of convicted child sex offenders between the two countries.
The agreement between ICE and the NCA establishes their intention to provide each other with known international travel of individuals previously convicted of a sexual crime against a child. The information is to be used for the purposes of enhancing the interdiction or investigation of these convicted child sex offenders, as well as making informed decisions regarding their admittance to the respective countries.
The agreement, believed to be the first of its kind between two countries, also notes the intention of the two national law enforcement agencies to offer support and best practices to each other for the purposes of combatting the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism as part of each country’s efforts to protect children from sexual abuse.
The exchange of information on the international travel of convicted child sex offenders is a priority for ICE. In fiscal year 2014, ICE provided notice of travel from the U.S. of approximately 2,300 convicted child sex offenders to over 120 countries. This information exchange effort, managed by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) as “Operation Angel Watch,” is in support of ICE’s role in the criminal investigations of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents traveling to a foreign country for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual conduct with someone under 18 years of age, which is a serious violation of U.S. law.
In the U.S., HSI’s Child Exploitation Investigations Unit conducts, manages, and coordinates national and international child sexual exploitation investigations, including sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism. In the U.K., the NCA’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP) works with child protection partners across the U.K. and overseas to identify the main threats to children and coordinates activity against these threats to bring offenders to account. CEOP protects children from harm online and offline, directly through NCA led operations and in partnership with local and international agencies.