The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas (USAO/TXE) is committed to the protection of our children. Advances in technology over the past two decades have brought about new obstacles for parents, educators, and law enforcement. No longer are children safe in their own homes. No longer can teachers and parents let their guard down when our children are in the classroom, library, or even in their own home. The statistics are alarming. One in five children per year receives an unwanted sexual solicitation online. One in thirty-three children per year receives an aggressive sexual solicitation. And perhaps most disturbing, at any given time, 50,000 predators are on the Internet actively seeking out children. The USAO/TXE is committed to aggressively implementing programs and targeting those who would harm children in order to provide a safer environment for all children in today’s ever expanding and complicated world.
The USAO/TXE’s Project Safe Childhood (PSC) consists of 5 components; 1) expansion of partnerships between federal, state, and local law enforcement in prosecuting child exploitation matters, identifying, rescuing and assisting child-victims; 2) continued participation in national initiatives; 3) expanding federal involvement in child exploitation investigations; 4) training federal, state, and local law enforcement; and 5) community outreach and education.
Collaborative efforts between federal, state, and local law enforcement not only facilitate the sharing of resources but ensure that the most dangerous offenders receive the most serious punishment available. The goal of the educational components of the USAO/TXE’s PSC program is to raise the public’s awareness about the threat and prevalence of online sexual predators and to provide the tools and information to educators, parents, and children to help reduce the likelihood of harm to children and to assist law enforcement in their investigations through the reporting of incidents involving minors. Additionally, this educational component of the PSC program assists law enforcement with their investigations by raising the community’s awareness of incidents involving minors and improving the community’s willingness to report these incidents.