A raid carried out against suspected child sex offenders netted more than 2,300 arrests across the U.S., the Justice Department announced Wednesday as the attorney general vowed to “strike back against these repugnant crimes.”
The three-month operation, dubbed “Broken Heart,” ended in May. It was conducted by Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces in all 50 states, comprising more than 4,500 law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, local and tribal levels.
"No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said 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 sexually abused children. The investigation also identified 383 children who had suffered abuse.
The raid targeted suspects who produced and distributed child pornography, 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 more than 390,000 children and adults.
The Justice Department says the ICAC program, which got its start in 1998, has since resulted in more than 83,000 arrests.