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Project Safe Childhood (PSC)

Project Safe Childhood (PSC)

Project Safe Childhood | USAO-EDCA | Department of JusticeProject Safe Childhood (PSC) is a national initiative that was launched by the Department of Justice in 2006 to coordinate federal, state, and local resources towards the location and prosecution of individuals who exploit and abuse children, as well as towards the identification and protection of victims.  Since 2011, Project Safe Childhood has expanded beyond the exploitation of minors through the internet, to encompass all federal crimes involving exploitation including sex trafficking of minors. Project Safe Childhood also works internationally to arrest individuals who exploit minors around the world including those who produce and distribute child pornography. USAOs work with local law enforcement in each district to coordinate efforts to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children and provide services to address the protection and needs of child victims.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California is committed to the safety and protection of children and works closely with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases.

Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM)

Child Sexual Abuse Material, referred to under U.S. federal law as child pornography, concerns the visual depiction of a minor (any individual under the age of 18) engaging in explicit sexual activity. As minors cannot legally consent, CSAM media contains the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Victims of child pornography suffer from further trauma when these files are transmitted across technological platforms, as commonplace websites, social media, e-mail, and even online gaming can be used to disseminate and collect CSAM. Girls and prepubescent children are at the greatest risk to be depicted in CSAM, while boys are more likely to be targeted before puberty and face the most egregious and explicitly violent abuse. For more information on Child Sexual Abuse Material visit:


Sextortion is a form of sexual exploitation in which non-physical forms of coercion are used to engage in sexual acts with a non-consenting party. While victims of Sextortion aren’t exclusively minors, the rising presence of children and teenagers on the internet has increased the threat of predatory sexual coercion against victims under 18. Oftentimes the perpetrator will threaten to distribute private material, harm friends or relatives, or use other forms of black mail to extort images of a sexual nature, sexual favors, or money from a victim. Online perpetrators may use malware to access private computer files, web cameras, and microphones, or may create a relationship with the victim to gain their trust, based on false or deceptive pretenses. The criminal often poses as another young person and offers a romantic relationship, threats, gifts, or money to coerce nude images from their victims. Other times, the perpetrator may claim to already have sensitive material on their victim, which they use as blackmail in exchange for more explicit communications. For more information on Sextortion and online resources for caregivers and children, visit:

If you believe you’re a victim of sextortion, or know someone else who is, call your local FBI office or toll-free at 1-800-CALL-FBI.


Grooming is a form of child sexual abuse that can involve the targeting and isolation of the victim, in order to gain the trust of the victim through a controlling relationship to manipulate, exploit, and abuse the victim. Grooming may also involve gaining the trust of adults around a child in order to have time alone with the child. Grooming can occur through relationships formed over the internet and/or offline. The offender in a grooming case can use relationships with the adults around a child or a lack thereof to spend more time with a child to engage in a physically or sexually abusive relationship. Grooming can have other consequences from the manipulation of the offender. Manipulation of the child can lead to the cooperation of the child, preventing disclosure of the abuse. Manipulation of adults around the child can prevent abuse from being detected. Grooming behaviors are not always overt and may be subtle enough to not appear inappropriate, however, the difficult detection means that children are in more danger of becoming victims of an offender. The offender might take advantage of a child by creating opportunities to be alone with the child, giving special privileges, fixating on a child rather than the adults around them, buying gifts, or engaging in behaviors that are sexually abusive.

If you are a victim of or know someone who is a victim of grooming, call 9-1-1 if the child is at immediate risk. You can also contact your local child protection services or police department to report grooming.

Child Sex Tourism

Child sex tourism (CST) is a form of child sexual abuse in which perpetrators travel to foreign nations with the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts with minors. CST is a subsection of the multibillion-dollar global sex tourism industry and victimizes approximately 1.2 million children around the world according to the UNICEF. “Tourists” often seek out low-income nations with weak law enforcement, corruption, high rates of armed conflict, and poverty through internet networks, which trade information on where vulnerable children can be located. In response to the pervasiveness of child sex tourism offenses, 38 countries have adopted extraterritorial laws that allow their citizens to be prosecuted for child sexual abuse crimes committed while abroad, including the United States. Under the PROTECT Act of 2003, it is a federal crime for a US citizen or permanent resident alien to participate in commercial sex acts with a person under the age of 18 in a foreign country. To report any suspected incidents of Child Sex Tourism, call the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement tip line at: 1-866-DHS-2ICE. If overseas assistance is needed, contact the regional security officer at the local American embassy or consulate.

To report suspected incidents of child sex tourism involving American citizens, call the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement tip line at: 1-866-DHS-2ICE. If overseas assistance is needed, contact the regional security officer at the local American embassy or consulate.




To report incidents of online child sexual abuse or the online enticement of minors for illicit material visit the NCMEC CyberTipline:


For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit:

For more information on child sex exploitation visit:

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National Center for Missing Children

For educational information and video resources for children K-5 visit:

For resources for survivors of Child Sexual Exploitation and their Families/Peers visit:

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Updated July 17, 2023