US nets 255 online paedophiles
- Published: 16/07/2013 at 02:51 PM
- Online news:
WASHINGTON - US authorities announced the arrest of 255 people in a massive sweep against suspected paedophiles.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton said Operation iGuardian targeted online sexual abusers as well as perpetrators who possess, produce or trade child pornography. In a statement, he said the five-week operation rescued 61 child victims.
Most of those arrested were from the United States, with additional arrests in Thailand, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, the Phillipines, Singapore and South Korea. Mr Morton said 17 of those arrested held positions of trust, including nine teachers and three clergy members.
"Protecting our youth in the digital age requires all of us to be on the lookout for child predators abusing and extorting victims online," Morton said. "Children and parents need to understand that not everyone online is who they say they are."
Mr Morton said the investigation reflected the growth of child "sextortion", in which predators groom minors to send them graphic images and then blackmail them into performing sex or sending more explicit photos.
"Child abusers prowl social media looking for opportunities to force young people into sexual exploitation through guile, deceit and extortion," he said. "We want children to know that it's wrong for any adult to solicit or pressure them for sex and that the law is on their side."
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