Nearly 1700 Suspected Child Sex Offenders Arrested In Massive Operation
A huge sting dubbed Operation 'Broken Heart' has arrested 1700 suspected child sex offenders over just two months.
Throughout April and May, specialist investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice coordinated an operation known as 'Broken Heart', which investigated over 18,000 complaints related to internet crimes against children.
The 1700 suspects were arrested for a number of different charges including the production, distribution or possession of child pornography.
Predators who were engaging in the enticement of children online for sexual purposes, the sexual trafficking or children, or travelling across state lines or to foreign countries to sexually abuse children were also arrested.
Attorney General William P. Barr said the "sexual abuse of children is repugnant, and it victimises the most innocent and vulnerable of all".
"We must bring the full force of the law against sexual predators, and with the help of our Internet Crimes Against Children program, we will."
The Department of Justice's Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) department has 61 task forces, and operates in every U.S. state.
Since their inception in 1998, the ICAC task forces have investigated over 920,000 complaints related to online child exploitation.
They also run education programs for parents and children about the realities of child sex offender behaviour online.
Operation Broken Heart has been running annually across the same two-month period since 2014.
The program ensures that local law enforcement agencies are collaborating with federal bodies to track online child sex offenders and monitor their activity.
In 2017, more than 1000 arrests were made and in 2018, more than 2300 suspected online abusers were arrested.