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June 11, 2015Washington, DC, United StatesOperational

President Obama Signs HERO Act of 2015

In what was a huge win for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Human Exploitation Rescue Operations Act of 2015 or HERO Act of 2015 was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 19 with President Barack Obama officially signing the bill into law on Friday, May 29. 

The HERO Act of 2015 is Title III of S.178, Justice for Victims Trafficking Act of 2015. It amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to operate, within ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a Cyber Crimes Center to provide investigative assistance, training and equipment to support domestic and international investigations by ICE of cyber-related crimes. Now that the bill has passed, the HERO Act gives authority to continue the ongoing activities of the HERO Corps, a program operated by HSI’s Cyber Crimes Center (C3). The HERO Corps Program is designed to provide wounded, injured and ill military veterans with training in high-tech computer forensics and law enforcement skills, which will enable them to assist federal agents in the fight against online child sexual exploitation.

“This legislation codifies the ICE HSI Cyber Crimes Center and the HERO program ensuring that HSI will be able to continue training wounded warriors, helping to transition them from protecting the country to protecting our nation’s greatest asset, our children,” said HSI Executive Associate Director Peter T. Edge.  “These HEROs make a direct impact on facilitating and expediting the required forensic analysis, which leads to increased identification of child victims.”

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 criminal investigators. From outside the United States and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196. 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.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

Updated: 06/12/2015