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About Project Safe Childhood

Project Safe Childhood is a unified and comprehensive strategy to combat child exploitation. Initiated in May, 2006, Project Safe Childhood combines law enforcement efforts, community action, and public awareness. The goal of Project Safe Childhood is to reduce the incidence of sexual exploitation of children. There are five essential components to Project Safe Childhood: (1) building partnerships; (2) coordinating law enforcement; (3) training PSC partners; (4) public awareness; and (5) accountability.

The Department of Justice is committed to the safety and well-being of our children and has placed a high priority on protecting and combating sexual exploitation of minors. Since the launch of Project Safe Childhood in 2006, the number of cases and defendants prosecuted by United States Attorney's Offices has increased by 40%, with 2315 indictments against 2427 defendants filed in Fiscal Year 2009. PSC prosecutions by United States Attorneys' Offices have increased each year since the launch of the initiative.

Congress passed the Providing Resources, Officers, and Technology to Eradicate Cyber Threats to Our Children Act of 2008 (the "PROTECT Our Children Act"). As mandated by the Act, in February 2010, the Department, working with the National Drug Intelligence Center, completed a year long and first of its kind threat assessment of the magnitude of child exploitation. The result of this assessment reports a disturbing trend showing increases, and in some instances significant increases, in all types of child sexual exploitation, including: (1) child pornography; (2) online enticement of children for sexual purposes; (3) commercial sexual exploitation of children; and (4) child sex tourism.

In April 2016 the Department submitted the second National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction to Congress, building on the work of the first strategy the Department issued.  The National Strategy describes in detail the current efforts of the Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners to find, prosecute, and punish those who prey on the nation’s children. It describes, as well, efforts by those agencies and others to engage in public outreach and awareness to prevent children from being victimized in the first place, whether through enticement of the unwary online or through their exploitation on the streets of the nation’s cities. It addresses the unique circumstances that lead to child exploitation in Indian County and the responses that are necessary to protect tribal victims. It further details the efforts by the Department and other agencies to provide services to children that account for the complex, intersecting, and long-lasting harms that exploitation causes. And it forecasts a future of greater technological and global threats. In order to face those threats, the National Strategy outlines a series of goals for law enforcement, prosecutors, and victim service providers, among others, for protecting the nation’s children. Most importantly, the National Strategy reaffirms our unwavering commitment to ensuring that all children in America are able to reach their potential and are protected from violence and abuse.

These components include: the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Attorneys Offices, Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Office of International Affairs, Office of Justice Programs, and Office of Legal Policy. These components will coordinate and multiple their efforts with the numerous other local, state, tribal, federal, and non-governmental agencies and organizations. This includes the United States Postal Inspection Service, Department of Homeland Security through Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Secret Service, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, Department of Education, the 61 Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces, and numerous other local and state agencies and organizations. The non-governmental organizations that will work alongside our federal, tribal, state, and local partners include the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, Child Help, Darkness to Light, Girls Education and Mentoring Services, Inc., Enough is Enough, i-Safe, Kristi House, Inc., Nevada Child Seekers, Paul Lisa Program, Inc., Web Wise Kids, San Diego Police Foundation, Self Reliance Foundation, Washtenaw Area Council for Children, INOBTR, TechMission Youth Program, PROTECT, and many others.

One of the chief mandates of the PROTECT ACT and the National Strategy is to expand our efforts to coordinate and cooperate with federal, tribal, state, local, and international organizations and agencies in the fight to prevent and interdict in the sexual exploitation of children. Working closely with each other, we will pool our intelligence and resources to ensure that those offenders who seek to entice and compromise our children are brought to justice.

Read more in the Project Safe Childhood Fact Sheet.

Updated April 19, 2016