On July 27, 2018, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Nairobi, along with the Kenyan Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Anti Human Trafficking Child Protection Unit (AHTCPU), fully implemented the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) CyberTipline.
After facilitating the December 2017 signing of the official Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of Kenya (GOK) and NCMEC, HSI Nairobi partnered with both the AHTCPU and other stakeholders to ensure both the technical capacity and resources were in place to begin delivering actionable child exploitation leads to the GOK.
At approximately 7 p.m. East Africa time on July 27, AHTCPU received its first lead.
“HSI Nairobi’s partnership with the Kenyan Anti Human Trafficking Child Protection Unit, NCMEC and the National Crime Agency (NCA) is critical to supporting worldwide efforts to combat the sexual exploitation of children,” said HSI Nairobi Attaché James Podboy. “HSI and its international partners will continue to utilize the full force of law enforcement, NGOs and civil society to disrupt and dismantle the criminal organizations that engage in child victimization.”
Through the participation of multiple stakeholders, the AHTCPU office in Kenya has been modernized with the tools needed to allow the officers to fully investigate crimes related to child sexual exploitation. Together with the NCA and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), HSI Nairobi is working to establish additional AHTCPUs in Eastern and Western Kenya. With the expansion of the AHTCPU into Mombasa (coastal Kenya), HSI will have a new foothold in disrupting and dismantling the child sex tourism trade that has plagued the region for decades.
In furtherance of this new operational venture with the GOK, HSI Nairobi has secured cyber training from the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) that will take place in September. In order to continue capacity building in the region and recognizing that child sexual exploitation is a problem in all of East Africa, HSI Nairobi has secured the financial commitment from the UNODC to bring in its regional law enforcement partners from other neighboring countries. This regional training will serve to connect law enforcement in East Africa who are charged with investigating crimes involving child exploitation.
Every year, millions of children fall prey to sexual predators. To combat that, HSI places a high priority on enforcing laws that work to end the sexual exploitation of children. HSI is a global leader in the investigation and dismantling of criminal organizations that promote the sexual exploitation of children; the production, advertisement and distribution of child pornography; and child sex tourism. HSI recognizes the importance of education and community awareness regarding the dangers of online activity. Through technological advancements such as the Operation Predator app and iGuardian, HSI educates the public about online safety and how to stay away from online predators.