More than 3,500 child predators were apprehended by U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during Fiscal Year 2019, marking an 18 percent increase from 2018, the agency announced.
Operation Predator, an international program launched by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division, has successfully escalated its war on sex offenders who target minors and children.
“Special agents, investigators and analysts from across HSI have dedicated themselves to protecting children and rooting out predators for more than two decades,” ICE explained in a press release.
“In FY 19, HSI initiated 4,224 child exploitation cases resulting in 3,771 criminal arrests, and identified or rescued 1,066 victims – an increase of nearly 18% over FY 18 and reflecting HSI’s firm commitment to ending these heinous crimes against children, wherever they occur.”
HSI’s stated objectives are to “identify, investigate, and arrest child predators who possess, trade, or produce child sexual abuse material; travel overseas for sex with minors; or engage in the sex trafficking of children.”
ICE describes Operation Predator as HSI’s “flagship initiative” for identifying and apprehending child sex offenders.
“HSI is committed to eradicating individuals from our communities who seek to prey on children,” said Eben Roberts, acting special agent in charge of HSI Seattle.
“HSI’s agents, in cooperation with our law enforcement partners, work tirelessly to find and bring to justice, individuals who commit these heinous crimes. Moreover, we are dedicated to rescuing from harm’s way our most precious population – our children – and those who seek to harm them should consider this a warning.”
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