A massive raid carried out against suspected child sex offenders netted more than 2,300 arrests across the US, the Justice Department announced Wednesday, as it vowed to “strike back against these repugnant crimes.”
The three-month operation, dubbed “Broken Heart,” ended in May after being conducted by Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces located in all 50 states, comprising of more than 4,500 law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, local and tribal levels.
“No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement. “And yet, in recent years, certain forms of modern technology have facilitated the spread of child pornography and created greater incentives for its production. We at the Department of Justice are determined to strike back against these repugnant crimes.”
The Justice Department said 195 of those arrested were involved with producing child pornography or have committed child sexual abuse. The investigation also identified 383 children who had suffered abuse.
The raid targeted suspects who produced and distributed child porn, engaged children online or in person for sexual purposes, and participated in sex trafficking.
“During the course of the operation, the task forces investigated more than 25,200 complaints of technology-facilitated crimes against children and delivered more than 3,700 presentations on Internet safety to over 390,000 youth and adults,” it added in a statement.
The Justice Department says the ICAC program, since its launch in 1998, has resulted in more than 83,000 arrests.