US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and their international counterparts arrested 113 alleged child predators across the US and South America from Nov. 2 - 6 in what is described by the Department of Homeland Security as phase seven of Operation Protected Childhood. (OPCVII)
Working in cooperation with Brazil's Ministry of Justice and the Public Security and the Public Security Secretariat for Integrated Operation Cyber Laboratory, the agency's operation simultaneously targeted the distributors and producers of child sexual abuse material throughout the Americas.
Law enforcement agencies in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Panama coordinated with Homeland Security field offices in their respective countries during the sweep.
STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE FREE CBN NEWS APP
Click Here Get the App with Special Alerts on Breaking News and Top Stories
Here in the US, Homeland Security field offices working with local law enforcement officials in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee, California, Colorado, and Florida executed a combined 13 child exploitation-related search warrants and made nine arrests for child exploitation offenses.
Simultaneously, international law enforcement partners in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Panama also executed search warrants in their respective countries, totaling the following arrests:
- Brazil - 137 child exploitation related search warrants and 74 arrests
- Argentina - 37 child exploitation related search warrants and 23 arrests
- Paraguay - 2 child exploitation related search warrants and 2 arrests
- Panama - 7 child exploitation related search warrants and 5 arrests
ICE officials especially praised Brazil for its efforts in the ongoing Operation Protected Childhood.
"This collaborative effort by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations and its foreign law enforcement partners has put dangerous criminals behind bars and, most importantly, has led to the rescue of innocent children," said ICE Attaché for Brazil and Bolivia, Robert Fuentes Jr.
"Thank you to our Brazilian partners for their unwavering efforts over the last five years to combat child exploitation through Operation Protected Childhood," he continued. "And to our partners who have most recently joined our operation, we look forward to the continued fight and relentless effort to put a stop to this horrific crime."
Since 2017, Operation Protected Childhood has resulted in a total of approximately 781 arrests, 1,383 executed search warrants, and dozens of minor victims rescued, according to the agency.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE; TTY for hearing impaired: (802) 872-6196. This hotline is staffed around-the-clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may also be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or click here.