me give you just one example from our
own case files. In the spring of 2001
a young girl playing outside her apartment
was abducted by an unidentified man
in a van. Our local field office quickly
set up a 24 hour command center at the
local police department. Neighborhood
searches were conducted via the ground
and air. The National Center for Missing
and Exploited Children and the America's
Most Wanted television show gave the
case media publicity. A few days later
an employee at a bus station recognized
the girl and called the police. The
girl was recovered alive -- thanks to
well orchestrated, cooperative action
between law enforcement, the media,
and the public.
takes all of us working together to
protect children in cases like this.
State and municipal police are the first
responders to reports of missing and
exploited children and they request
our assistance as needed. Community
outreach, prevention, and education
are also essential. And media coverage
is key -- we are truly grateful for
the role the media plays in community
education and in getting the faces of
missing children out to the public.
know there is some concern that media
attention on these cases can lead alarmed
parents to think that child abductions
by strangers has reached epidemic proportions.
Fortunately, that is not the case. The
number of individuals reported missing
to the National Crime Information Center
has actually decreased 14 percent between
1997 and 2001. There are no signs of
an increase in the number of child abductions
by strangers. My message to parents
is this: be cautious, take time to educate
yourselves and your kids.
course, one missing child is too many.
At the FBI, saving lives, protecting
the innocent, and hunting down those
who prey upon them is at the heart of
what we do. Many programs are changing
in the FBI following last year's terrorist
attacks, but protecting our children
is one priority where our commitment
is stronger than ever.
blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue at FBI
Headquarters, we direct a national Crimes
Against Children Program. We have at
least two Special Agents in each of
our 56 field offices specifically dedicated
to this program. We have a Special Agent
assigned full time to the National Center
for Missing and Exploited Children --
and we have recently assigned three
analysts there to focus on incoming
reports and tips.
We routinely put people like Richard
Steve Goldberg on our list of Ten Most
Wanted Fugitives, right along with Usama
bin Laden. Goldberg is being sought
for allegedly preying on several young
girls in California. Just last year,
we captured two "top tenners"
wanted for sexually exploiting children:
Michael Scott Bliss and Eric Franklin
this, we are actively investigating
the sexual exploitation and abuse of
children, child sex tourism, child trafficking,
child pornography, domestic and international
parental kidnappings, and the on-line
sexual exploitation of children. And
we bring some unique resources to the
table, like our Evidence Response Teams,
Rapid Start, criminal profilers and
researchers from our National Center
for Analysis of Violent Crime, our state-of-the-art
laboratory, Victim/Witness Coordinators,
and new Child Interview Specialists.
have made Internet-facilitated crime
a top priority and created a new Cyber
Division to help us stay ahead of the
curve in this growing area. We are also
expanding "Innocent Images,"
a multi-agency, proactive initiative
that targets pedophiles and child pornographers
who prey on our kids over the Internet.
Our current 24 undercover operations
will be expanded to 30 by year's end.
recent "Operation Candyman,"
exposed an international on-line child
pornography group and shut down their
illicit web sites. As of September 6,
we have arrested 111 individuals in
the U.S., twelve of whom admitted to
the molestation of at least 45 children.
conference is a great opportunity for
us to build on this positive momentum.
I speak for all the men and women of
the FBI, when I say that we look forward
to working with all of you in the future
to protect our kids from predators and
to bring our lost children home.
I would like to introduce our panel.
First up, we have Claude Allen, Deputy
Secretary, Department of Health and
Human Services. Mr. Allen works closely
with HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on
all major policy and management issues,
and he serves as the department's Chief
Operating Officer. HHS helps address
the issue of runaway and missing children
across the nation.
up is Lee Heath, Chief Postal Inspector,
U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Chief
Heath is a 31-year veteran of the Postal
Inspection Service where he has worked
to protect the USPS, its employees and
customers from criminal attack and misuse.
For years the Postal Inspection Service
has played a critical role in fighting
third panelist is the Honorable Nina
Hickson, Chief Presiding Judge, Fulton
County Juvenile Court in Atlanta, Georgia.
Appointed to the Juvenile Court in May
1999, Judge Hickson was a major proponent
of legislation making pimping of minors
a felony offense. She helped to establish
"Angela's House," a safe house
for sexually exploited girls, and she
has won awards for her outstanding child
Next, we will hear from Sergeant Gary
O'Connor, now retired from the Lower
Gwynedd Township Police Department in
Pennsylvania. Sergeant O'Connor is a
33-year veteran of law enforcement and
has spent two decades as a trainer for
the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
rounding out the panel is Bradley Russ,
Chief of Police, Portsmouth Police Department
in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Chief
Russ was appointed Chief of Police in
1999, after twenty years with the department.
He has provided training to thousands
of child protection professionals, and
was a pioneer in the multi-disciplinary
team approach to child protection. Chief
Russ was also instrumental in the creation
of New Hampshire's first Child Advocacy
thanks to all of you for being here.
Let us begin with Claude Allen.