March 20, 2014

We cannot arrest our way out of this problem...

Operation Round Table- Global Child Porn Ring Bust,

“We cannot arrest our way out of this problem: Education is Key to Prevention.”

Dear Friends, 

I do sincerely wish I could always send you good news. But in the world of child sexual exploitation, good news often comes in the package of catching the bad guys and rescuing children. For twenty years, our focus has been on prevention of child sexual exploitation online primarily through education, public policy and law enforcement and through working with the Internet industry to be part of the prevention solution. 

This week, U.S. Federal prosecutors charged 14 people involved with an Internet child pornography ring where thoughts of sexually explicit images and videos were shared of children, some as young as 3 years old. Officials are calling Operation Round table “one of the largest online child exploitation investigations in the history of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement” The investigation involved a joint effort between  Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. 

The underground website was a hidden service board on the Darknet’s Onion Router, also known as Tor which  operated from about June 2012 until June 2013, according to a DHS report. “The site contained more than 2,000 videos and had more than 27,000 members. The report states the website shared webcam-captured videos of mostly boys enticed by the operators of the site to produce sexually explicit material.” 

“So far, investigators have identified 251 minor victims in 39 states, according to the report. Victims also have been identified in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Belgium. Eight of the victims were female and 243 were male, the report states. The majority of victims, 159, were 13 to 15 years old. One victim was between the ages of 4 to 6, and two victims were 3 years old or younger.” 

Never before in the history of this agency have we identified and located this many minor victims in the course of a single child exploitation investigation,” said ICE Deputy Director Daniel Ragsdale. “Our agency is seeing a growing trend where children are being enticed, tricked and coerced online by adults to produce sexually explicit material of themselves. While we will continue to prioritize the arrest of child predators, we cannot arrest our way out of this problem: Education is the key to prevention.” (full story click here) 

One of the key messages we emphasize through our Internet Safety 101SM Program is the reality that “you cannot detect a disquised predator, online or offline!”  This growing trend of adults grooming and enticing children to produce and send sexually explicit images and videos of themselves is putting these youth at great risk for a lifetime of sexual exploitation. Once these images are released, they can never truly be recovered or taken down off the Internet or off the hard drives of collectors of child pornography worldwide. 

Education is key. Please review the critical life saving information to protect youth from sexual predators and from their own risky behavior. Watch our award winning Grooming Video and Profile of a Predator video in which I interviewed a convicted sex offender, “John Doe”. In the video, he shares how predators like him operate and gain the trust of youth and what parents and youth need to know to guard against online seduction. Most importantly, please encourage everyone you know who has an Internet connected child to implement these critical safety measures to keep them safe of all Internet enabled devices. 

If you haven’t already, get your own copy of the Internet Safety 101SM Program for yourself or a friend.  Remember that No Child Is Immune, not even yours. Also, you can request that your local public television station air the 3 one hour episodes of the Enough Is Enough®/PBS Internet Safety 101SM TV series in your community. 

Lastly, please understand that our work at EIE is never really done. We cannot continue to do our work without your help and financial support. Will you help us by sending you tax deductable donation today? 

We are grateful for you and for the privilege of doing our part to protect children online so that they can enjoy the awesome benefits of the digital world, free from danger and exploitation. 

It is for their sake…. Together we can make a difference.



P.S. Can I count on you to call your local public television station and ask them to air the "Enough Is Enough®®” TV series? Tell them it is available through NETA. 

Take 5 minutes, Don't wait, do it now!  To help you, I have included a link to PBS station finder to help you, click here, type in your zip code and get connected to your local station. You can make a difference!

Enough Is Enough®/PBS Internet Safety 101SM Television Series: The Emmy Award winning Enough Is Enough®® television series (3 one hour shows) paints a comprehensive picture of online dangers and safety solutions. The Program led by  Internet safety expert Donna Rice Hughes and features experts from the fields of law enforcement, medicine, education, industry and Internet safety as well as parents, teens, kids and a convicted sex offender.  This series is an invaluable and practical resource for parents, educators and other caring adults who may be uninformed, overwhelmed or ill-equipped to protect children in the ever-evolving Internet world. The television series covers the safety basics viewers need to know to become educated, equipped and empowered to protect children from pornography, sexual predators, and cyber bullies, as well as how to keep kids safe on social networking sites, gaming and mobile devices. Filled with poignant true stories and essential strategies to counter these dangers, gain information, skills, and confidence to effectively protect children on all Internet-enabled devices. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wake up and take action.  (Rated PG)