Federal Courts Order Seizure of Website Domains Involved in Advertising and Distributing Child Pornography
WASHINGTON – Seizure warrants have been executed against 10 domain names of websites engaged in the advertisement and distribution of child pornography, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. The seizures are part of a new joint Justice Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) initiative called Operation Protect Our Children.
Seizure warrants have been executed against 10 domain names of websites that hosted hundreds of photos depicting prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Individuals attempting to access the websites will now find a banner notifying them that the domain name of that website has been seized by federal authorities.
“For all its positive impact, the Internet has also unfortunately created a new way for child predators to commit their inexcusable crimes,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “The production and distribution of child pornography wreak havoc on innocent lives. With these domain seizures, we are taking our fight against child pornography to websites that facilitate the exchange of these abusive images.”
“Each year, far too many children fall prey to sexual predators and all too often, these heinous acts are recorded in photos and on video and released on the Internet,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. “DHS is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to shut down websites that promote child pornography to protect these children from further victimization.”
Members of the public are encouraged to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through the ICE-HSI toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or www.cybertipline.com . The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and NCMEC have assisted ICE HSI in the efforts to identify websites dedicated to the advertisement and distribution of child pornography.
The seizure warrants were prepared by prosecutors from the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), with assistance from the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia also provided assistance. The warrants were executed by ICE-HSI agents.