A three-month operation has resulted in the arrest of more than 2,300 suspected child sex offenders, including a Secret Service employee, the Justice Department has announced. The investigation also identified 383 abused children.
The nationwide operation, dubbed “Broken Heart,” ended in May. Conducted by Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) taskforces working in all 50 states, the operation was carried out by more than 4,500 law enforcement agencies at federal, state, local and tribal levels.
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The operation targeted individuals suspected of producing or possessing child pornography, engaging in online enticement of children for sexual purposes, sex trafficking of children, and traveling across state lines or to foreign countries to sexually abuse children.
According to local media reports, a Secret Service employee residing in Maryland was arrested in March as part of the nationwide operation.
“No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, as quoted in Justice Department press release. “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 decision by some American news outlets to pass over the operation’s completion created a stir on Twitter – but there is likely a benign, although somewhat depressing, explanation for the lack of coverage: Operation Broken Heart has been going on for years. For example, Operation Broken Heart III, which ran from April to May 2016, netted over 1,000 suspected predators nationwide.