CEOS Mission

          The Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) serves a unique and critical function in the enforcement of the nation’s laws protecting children from sexual exploitation and prohibiting the distribution of obscenity.  Our mission is to protect children from sexual exploitation through the vigorous enforcement of federal laws, and to continuously improve the federal response to these serious crimes.

          CEOS is part of the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice. In connection with the 94 United States Attorney´s Offices around the country, CEOS investigates and prosecutes federal crimes including, among others, (1) the production, distribution, receipt and possession of images depicting the sexual assault of children (child pornography); (2) the online inducement of children for sexually predatory purposes; (3) the travel of offenders, or transportation of children by offenders, across state lines for sexually predatory purposes; (4) the sex trafficking of children, including on our city streets; and (5) extraterritorial child sexual abuse and exploitation (often misleadingly referred to as “child sex tourism”) involving offenders who travel to foreign, often impoverished countries, to prey sexually on vulnerable children. CEOS’ work also includes offenses involving international parental kidnapping, child support enforcement, sexual exploitation and abuse of children committed on federal land, and individuals who fail to register as sex offenders pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

          In addition to prosecutorial efforts, CEOS attorneys develop and refine proposals for prosecution policies, legislation, government practices and agency regulations addressing all relevant subject areas.  CEOS also conducts and participates in trainings for federal, state, local and international prosecutors, investigators, government officials and others engaged in efforts to enforce federal child exploitation and obscenity laws.

          The High Technology Investigative Unit (HTIU) initiates investigations and conducts forensic analysis on computer evidence in federal cases involving child exploitation crimes.  HTIU is designed to provide the most accurate, up-to-date expertise on computer forensic matters.  The HTIU computer forensic specialists assist law enforcement agents and prosecutors in the investigation and prosecution of computer facilitated child exploitation offenses, national operations involving child exploitation over the Internet, and special investigative initiatives.  In addition, HTIU specialists develop and deliver training for law enforcement agencies, research and help develop new investigative tools and techniques, assist in drafting proposed legislation, and testify as experts in federal court.

          CEOS and the High Technology Investigative Unit (HTIU) are the nation´s experts in prosecuting child exploitation cases, and in investigating high-technology child exploitation crimes.  In all aspects of work, we seek to blend investigative and prosecutorial experience with policy expertise in order to create innovative solutions to the threats posed by those who violate federal child exploitation and obscenity laws.

Updated May 12, 2023

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