Nearly 1,700 people have been arrested in the United States during a two-month federal operation into online child sex abuse, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.
Nicknamed “Broken Heart,” law enforcement investigated 18,500 "complaints of technology-facilitated crimes targeting children."
The investigation targeted individuals who produced child pornography, enticed children for sexual reasons, trafficked children, and crossed state and international borders to sexually abuse children, according to the department,.
A press release said the investigation was conducted by 61 operations around the country, with the cooperation of over 4,500 law enforcement agencies in all 50 states. The investigation identified 308 alleged child sex abusers and child pornography producers in April and May of 2019. The investigation also identified 357 children who had suffered sexual abuse and exploitation.
"The sexual abuse of children is repugnant, and it victimizes the most innocent and vulnerable of all," Attorney General Bill Barr said in a statement. "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.
In remarks to a National Law Enforcement Training on Child Exploitation Conference, Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Edward O'Callaghan told law enforcement officials that “the results of Operation Broken Heart demonstrate what is possible when law enforcement agencies at every level come together to solve complex cases and bring criminals to justice.”
The ICAC task force has arrested more than 95,500 people since its inception in 1998.