U.S. launches new strategy for child exploitation
The U.S. Department of Justice has released its National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, which provides the first-ever comprehensive assessment of the dangers children face from child pornography, online enticement, child sex tourism.
The strategy outlines a blueprint to strengthen the fight against these crimes, building upon the department’s accomplishments in combating child exploitation by establishing specific, aggressive goals and priorities, as well as increasing cooperation and collaboration at all levels of government and the private sector.
The strategy includes sex tourism involving minors.
As part of the overall strategy, the U.S. Marshals Service is launching a nationwide operation targeting the top 500 most dangerous sex offenders in the nation. Additionally, the Justice Department will create a national database to allow federal, state, tribal, local and international law enforcement partners to work with each other, engage in undercover operations, share information and intelligence, and conduct analysis on dangerous offenders, future threats and trends.
The department also created 38 additional assistant U.S. attorney positions to prosecute child exploitation cases.
“Although we’ve made meaningful progress in protecting children across the country, and although we’ve brought a record number of offenders to justice in recent years, it is time to renew our commitment to this work. It is time to intensify our efforts,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “This new strategy provides the roadmap necessary to do just that — to streamline our education, prevention and prosecution activities; to improve information sharing and collaboration; and to make the most effective use of limited resources.”
Since fiscal year 2006, the Department of Justice has filed cases against more than 8,600 defendants as part of Project Safe Childhood, a unified and comprehensive strategy to combat child exploitation that was started in May 2006. These cases include prosecutions of online enticement of children to engage in sexual activity; interstate transportation of children to engage in sexual activity; production, distribution and possession of child pornography; and other offenses.
Some of these cases involved arrests and convictions for engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor in a foreign place. Most of the cases involved U.S. citizens who were involved with minors in Thailand, Cambodia and The Philippines.