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The Innocent Images International Task Force
The Innocent Images International Task Force became operational on October 6, 2004 and includes law enforcement officers from the following countries: United Kingdom, Norway, Finland, Ukraine, Belarus, Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, Croatia, Latvia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden, Fiji, Cyprus, Iceland, Denmark, Panama, and Europol. To date, more than 47 international officers have traveled to the United States and have worked side-by-side with special agents of the FBI at the Innocent Images Unit. The task force allows for the real-time transfer of information from and to the FBI and between task-force members and their countries. Task Force officers stay in the United States for several months and remain an integral part of the task force once they return to their home countries. The FBI’s Innocent Images International Task Force successfully brings together law enforcement from around the world to address the global crime problem of online child exploitation.
Related Story: Innocent Images Turns Ten and Goes International
Endangered Child Alert Program
On February 21, 2004 the FBI began its Endangered Child Alert Program (ECAP), a new and aggressive approach to identify unknown individuals involved in the sexual abuse of children and the production of child pornography. The ECAP uses national and international media exposure of unknown adults featured in child pornography and displays their faces on the “Seeking Information” section of our website at http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/fugitives/cac/fug_cac.htm in hopes that someone can identify them. If an unknown child pornography subject is not identified from the website, his or her face will eventually be broadcast on the television show America’s Most Wanted: America Fights Back. Of particular significance in these cases was that for the first time, the Innocent Images program obtained “John Doe” arrest warrants based solely on images acquired through undercover investigations. It is believed that national and international exposure will lead to rapid identifications and arrests of persons involved in child pornography and sexual abuse of minors. This new method is intended to aggressively pursue and thwart individuals who would abuse or harm our nation’s children. To date, the ECAP has successfully identified 12 subjects, with eight of the 12pending prosecution. These investigations have led to the identification of at least 37 child victims.
Related Story: A Strengthened Partnership to Protect Children
The Los Angeles Division of the FBI’s Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Team investigated the website www.namgla.net. The acronym NAMGLA is meant to stand for the “North American Man Girl Love Association,” and its website served as a mechanism to advertise and directly link users to websites containing child pornography. It serviced an international community of online predators where thousands of graphic images of sexually abused children could be shared. The FBI infiltrated this online organization when it investigated one of its administrators. This administrator voluntarily gave the FBI consent to become a member of this group in an undercover capacity. SAFE Team investigators viewed approximately 30 new posted messages each day and then followed the advertised child pornography links so they could preserve evidence the links led to illicit images of child abuse. On July 25, 2006 the website www.namgla.net was shut down by the SAFE Team. At least 35 domestic subjects were identified. In addition, 49 subjects in 27 foreign countries have been identified. On July 25, 2006, the FBI coordinated the execution of 29 search warrants and six consensual interviews in 20 different states. Results of these investigations have yielded 22 confessions to possessing or distributing child pornography, as well as several arrests. Three subjects were determined to have had prior sex offenses against minors and another three subjects were found to be in possession of narcotics. International investigations have been conducted in Ecuador, Chile, Poland, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, and Sweden.
Related Information: Los Angeles Press Release