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Project Safe Childhood

In May, 2006, the Department of Justice announced Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a new initiative to reduce the number of children victimized by sex crimes involving the Internet. PSC targets child pornography crimes and Internet enticement of children using a three-pronged approach.  First, the Project encourages collaboration between federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutors to increase the number of cases investigated and prosecuted and to maximize the resources available for identifying and helping victims.  Second, it supports training of law enforcement officers to increase their ability to investigate these technically and factually difficult cases.  Third, it encourages public education and outreach, including Internet safety training for school-age children and their parents. In 2011, PSC was expanded to include child prostitution and human trafficking offenses under the umbrella of offenses now investigated and prosecuted with this collaborative approach.

The United States Attorney for the District of Maine, which has always taken an aggressive stance toward the prosecution of child pornography and on-line exploitation cases, has strengthened its efforts since PSC was initiated by assembling a PSC working group. The working group includes local, state and federal law enforcement officers, including a highly qualified team of state and federal forensic examiners who retrieve evidence from every computer seized during a criminal investigation in Maine.  It also includes both state and federal prosecutors, victim advocates, and others who contribute to the state-wide effort to reduce Internet sex crimes against children.  The working group, in collaboration with the entire law enforcement community of Maine, is actively exploring ways to improve investigation of Internet sex crimes, to stay ahead of technological advances that make perpetrators hard to detect, to improve community understanding of the scope of the problem, to teach children how to protect themselves from on-line predators, and to improve services to victims.  The working group has also adopted a protocol to provide investigative leads to a national clearinghouse for sexual crimes against children so that investigative information generated in Maine is shared with the law enforcement community across the nation and around the world.

We need all the help we can get to reduce Internet sex crimes against children.  If you have information that would help law enforcement identify a child victim of this type of crime, or help apprehend a defendant using the Internet to lure children or collect and trade child pornography please see our Report a Crime page.  For more information concerning PSC, see the Department of Justice Web site at http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/


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