For more than two decades, Homeland Security Investigations Kansas City has protected the public from crimes of victimization and strategically targeted and investigated individuals and networks that engage in child exploitation. Recently, the United Nations officially declared Nov. 18 to be the World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence. The U.N. proclaimed the day to shine a light on child sexual exploitation and abuse and bring together stakeholders, such as HSI, from around the world to prevent it.
HSI Kansas City’s goal is to protect children from exploitation by predators involved in the production, distribution and possession of child sexual abuse material throughout Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. What makes HSI unique from other law enforcement agencies is its broad legal authority to conduct federal criminal investigations into illegal cross-border movement of people, goods, money, technology and other contraband throughout the United States. HSI utilizes its authority to investigate a wide array of transnational crime, including transnational gang activity, child exploitation, and human smuggling and trafficking.
HSI’s victim-centered approach to these investigations has led to the identification or rescue of thousands of victims of child sexual exploitation.
“HSI’s special agents and victim assistance specialists place equal value on identifying and stabilizing victims while simultaneously investigating those who are suspected of engaging in child exploitation,” said Special Agent in Charge of HSI Kansas City Katherine Greer. “But we need the community’s help to increase awareness and to report signs of potential abuse.”
“HSI’s Project iGuardian is a great place to find valuable resources that can be used to educate parents, trusted adults and caregivers,” continued Greer. “Utilizing the resources found there, coupled with public engagement, are great steps toward increased protection of children and teens from predators.”
But education and awareness are not the only things that help protect minors. HSI is also committed to holding those who exploit children accountable for their actions.
“The Child Exploitation Investigations Unit (CEIU) employs the latest technology to collect evidence and track the activities of individuals and organized groups who sexually exploit children using websites, chat rooms, peer-to-peer trading, and other internet-based platforms; we have had cases where predators exploited thousands of minors across the world – child exploitation is a major issue that permeates every landscape in America,” said Daniel Kenny, CEIU acting unit chief. “If someone breaches your trust or threatens to exploit you or a loved one, it is not your fault and there is help available. We use cutting edge investigative techniques to bring consumers, producers, and distributors of child sexual exploitation material, as well as to predators engaging in transnational child sexual abuse, to justice.”
Several laws increase the probability that sexual predators who harm children will suffer severe consequences, including the Mann Act, the 1994 Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Act, the 2003 Protect Act and the 2006 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. Additionally, federal law bars U.S. residents from engaging in sexual or pornographic activities anywhere in the world with a child under 18.
Those convicted in the United States face significant penalties, as seen in the following recent HSI Kansas City child exploitation cases:
- HSI investigation results in life sentence of Omaha man convicted of sex trafficking minors
- Nebraska woman sentenced for conspiracy to sex traffic minors
- Kansas City man sentenced to 18 years for sex trafficking 4 victims
- Missouri woman pleads guilty to child exploitation enterprise following joint HSI, law enforcement partner investigation
- Merriam Woods man sentenced 17 years for sexual exploitation of 2 children following HSI, joint law enforcement partner investigation
- HSI, joint law enforcement partner probe leads to sentencing of Springfield man, woman for child sex trafficking
- Branson sex offender sentenced to 12 years for child pornography following HSI probe
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 866-347-2423 or by completing an online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users may call TTY 802-872-6196.
To request an iGuardian presentation at your school or organization, email iGuardian@ice.dhs.gov.