Hundreds Arrested in Sex Trafficking Sweep

61 Children Rescued, including 4 under the age of 3

By Andy Gross and Daniel Arkin, NBC News

Law enforcement officials announced Monday that a recent five-week sweep snared more than 250 suspected child predators, including nine teachers and three clergymen.

Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Morton said that 255 child predators were arrested and 61 child victims were rescued in so-called “Operation iGuardian,” which targeted online sexual abusers as well as those who possess, produce or trade child pornography.

Morton said that the international investigation, which ran from May 28 to June 30, revealed that online sexual abuse is pervasive and growing.

“Protecting our youth in the digital age requires all of us to be on the lookout for child predators abusing and extorting victims online,” Morton said, according to an ICE news release. “Children and parents need to understand that not everyone online is who they say they are.”

He said that investigators have identified a “disturbing trend” known as “sextortion,” in which predators essentially blackmail underage children into sending them “increasingly graphic images and videos.”

“Child abusers prowl social media looking for opportunities to force young people into sexual exploitation through guile, deceit, and extortion,” he said. “We want children to know that it’s wrong for any adult to solicit or pressure them for sex and that the law is on their side.”

Morton said that despite the growth of sexual abuse online, officials cannot “arrest our way out of this problem” due to the sheer scope of online communications and the massive number of potential sexual abusers.

The majority of the rescued child victims were girls, Morton said.

Twenty-two of the victims were 9 years old or younger — including four under the age of 3. The remaining 39 children were between the ages of 10 and 17, according to the ICE news release.

Of those arrested, 20 people were charged with online sexual enticement of a minor, with the remaining 235 people charged with child pornography production, possession or distribution of child pornography, traveling with the intent to have sex with a minor, or other offenses, including rape, according to the ICE release.

Only four of the suspected predators nabbed in the investigation were women, ICE officials said.

Advocates applauded the results of the investigation.

“We are very thankful for the priority that Director Morton and ICE have made in protecting our country’s most vulnerable victims,” said John Ryan, CEO of The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “The sad truth is, there are many more child victims of sexual exploitation out there who have not yet been rescued and are still suffering.”

“We know that there’s more work to be done so that all child victims receive the help they deserve,” he said during the Monday announcement.

Investigators have arrested 1,674 people in similar investigations this fiscal year alone, ICE officials said.

17 responses to “Hundreds Arrested in Sex Trafficking Sweep

  1. Great work, ICE team! This has to be one of the most difficult jobs out there, I can only imagine the emotional toll. You are saving lives and making this world a better place. Heroes in my opinion.

  2. This is highly commendable

  3. Thank you Jesus! Answered prayers!

  4. John F. Kinslow

    For the life of me, I can not understand how anybody can harm or endanger a child. Good job done and may they be able to capture more of these perverts. May justice be swift and severe to those that have been captured and future arrests.

  5. USA folks. What country? Your lack of awareness is appalling…..This is a country of predators delight….please educate yourself be active in your childs life. You are never to busy to protect the innocent in your life.

  6. Pingback: Huge Trafficking Sweep Results in Massive Arrests! | SAS

  7. What is it going to take to get this to stop? These are our children for goodness sake! Parents need to be paying much more attention to their children’s safety and activities. If more parents where as kids who know me have called me ” strict, over protective, and obsessively interested in their doings” there would be less ability for these wicked people to take advantage.. Come on its time to step up and protect the innocent.. They grow up way to quickly as it is.

    • Alexis, parents do need to step or not have children. One also needs to go even further and research the abuse our very own government is allowing for profit. They are the biggest sex-ring, abducting for profit organization in this country. I wouldn’t have believed it until it happened to my family, then I started meeting others with the same story and we all have paper trails to PROVE our innocence but this doesn’t matter and is just grossly overlooked. Look at the story out of Seattle, Washington this past week. Birthmarks and a scratch under the tongue of an 10 week old baby were declared child abuse and was taken away for 10 months before they could finally get someone at one of the major news stations to air this travesty.

      CPS workers file false reports to the abuse hot line then come take your children. The abuse hotline has become a number to call because someone is getting even for some petty issue and there is no abuse or neglect what-so-ever, JUST EVIL PEOPLE.

      A lot of people who do sympathize in government or in the public eye turn a blind eye to it because all it takes is them upsetting someone in this organized crime right (our gov) and they can come destroy your family in a heart-beat.

      My grandchildren WERE NOT abused or neglected and we have all the evidence and proof to back this up. But the social worker was made when my daughter-in-law wouldn’t let her into her home until she told her who she was and then asked the social worker to wait until her husband got home. I have not seen the grandchildren since in person. During their supervised visitations now we have photos and other proof that the children under the Arizona State Foster System are being neglected and abused mentally AND SEXUALLY! and there is NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT. The Attorney Generals office backs up all the false allegations and even throws in some of their own false allegations.

      WHERE IS THE JUST? WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR CIVIL & CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS?

      Search the web, start on my Facebook Page. It is horror story after horror story all across our country and others also.

  8. This is never going to stop as long as our corrupt government condones this abuse of children. They are hiding a billion dollar industry abducting children from good homes and placing them into state foster care then who know. Sex rings is one of them. Do your research. This is how inhumane our country and government has become.

    • I agree with Stop CPS. It is hard to comprehend and believe this is really going on via our own government until it actually happens to you and/or loved ones and you see the corruption in action. BUT it is true. THIS CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE! AND IT DOES!

  9. Malinda Sherwyn

    Believe strongly that this his happening in foster care mills to increase profits and in the homes of named, identified abusers with Court ordered custody of children. Thank you for this post.. good to hear of this sweep of perpetrators… Is their more information on the perps, where are these children are being held and exploited and by whom?

  10. herve blandin… what a strange and critical response! Couldn’t you just have politely asked for clarification? Are you some sort of investigative reporter? Where are your articles and/or blogs? Who taught you to type? What exactly are you doing to reduce sex trafficking … reading facebook and blogs?
    BTW, I disagree the writers were attempting to be “de rigueur” (yes, I know what it means)
    You’re snotty remarks “hurt the cause” way more than their article

  11. Prayer is powerful!! God is watching … keep up the good work!!!!!!! Amen

  12. Thank You for cleaning up our city’s. Prayers to all the children for a good recovery. God Bless

  13. Traffick Alerts hasn’t hurt the cause at all. Whatever you think of their reporting, your energy and time could certainly be better spent furthering the fight against trafficking and not attacking others that are fighting it, too.

  14. Thank you for the support :)

  15. Agreed Christine!

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