April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect. The important partnership between the 163 state and federal agencies comprising the Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force focuses its efforts to protect children on-line and hold offenders accountable. Missouri ICAC Task Force investigators are committed to working tirelessly to strengthen police relationships and promoting awareness and participation in order to produce positive results that help make the Internet a safer place for America’s children.
Last year law enforcement agencies involved in the Missouri ICAC Task Force program were responsible for handling 2,852 investigations into child exploitation, conducted 3,993 digital forensic examinations, arrested 324 individuals, and conducted 463 community presentations statewide reaching approximately 72,000 Missouri residents.
The success of the Missouri ICAC Task Force is entirely due to the exceptional work being conducted by investigators, forensic examiners and prosecutors across the state, and is a fine example of the cooperative level of law enforcement in Missouri. As such, these agencies work closely together to see that criminals are brought to justice.
The Missouri ICAC Task Force offers the following online safety tips for families: Get educate about digital technologies and the Internet, have a family discussion about online dangers and appropriate online behavior, a person should never post anything they do not wish others to view; once it is online it is there forever. Be wary of any offers that involve meeting an online friend, never respond to messages or items that are suggestive, obscene or uncomfortable and report any suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency immediately.
The Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (MO ICAC) is managed by the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department and is funded by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and serves criminal justice agencies and citizens of Missouri by offering investigative, forensic and prevention training in an effort to fight online child exploitation. Online child sexual exploitation offenses include the possession, distribution and creation of child pornography, using the internet to facilitate underage sex trafficking, as well as attempts by individuals to lure and travel to meet children for sexual encounters.
In 1998, the United States Department of Justice began an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force to address the growing problem of Internet-related exploitation of children. The ICAC Task Force laid the foundation for what would become a nationwide partnership of law enforcement agencies with the mission of protecting children online. Currently there are 61 ICAC Task Forces located across the United States representing over 2,000 federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. Since its inception, the ICAC Task Force program has investigated over 280,000 complaints of alleged child sexual exploitation and arrested almost 30,000 individuals.
For more information on the Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force please contact MO ICAC Director, Lt. Chris Mateja, St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department at 636-949-7900 x4604 or email@example.com. To learn more about keeping children safe online and to find a local participating law enforcement affiliate or task force visit http://moicac.org.
Also pick up a copy of the April 27 issue of The Elsberry Democrat as we take an in depth look at the Cyber Crimes Unit and how they help in some of the most disturbing of cases.
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