Project Safe Childhood (PSC) in Maryland is a unified and comprehensive strategy to combat on-line child exploitation and abuse that combines law enforcement efforts, community action and public awareness. There are five essential components to Project Safe Childhood in Maryland: building partnerships, law enforcement coordination, training, public awareness and accountability. The success of this strategy depends on a team effort among our local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, and on the awareness, dedication and determination of concerned citizens, community activists, parents, educators and civic organizations.
In the District of Maryland, strong and effective partnerships continue between state, local and federal law enforcement, all focused on the prosecution and eradication of child exploitation. State and local law enforcement work closely with federal authorities to pool intelligence and resources, and to ensure that offenders are prosecuted in the jurisdiction where they will receive appropriate sentences for their conduct.
The District of Maryland has traditionally been in the forefront of the federal effort to stamp out child exploitation, particularly through initiatives led by the FBI and ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The FBI’s Innocent Images program, located in Baltimore, and ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) have been highly effective in arresting and convicting “producers,” individuals who sexually abuse children and take visual depictions documenting the abuse, as well as previously convicted sex offenders who have committed new offenses. Additionally, the FBI-led Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force was created in 2010 to combat child prostitution, with members from 10 state and federal law enforcement agencies. The Task Force coordinates with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Maryland State Police Child Recovery Unit to identify missing children being advertised online for prostitution.
Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE-Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) initiative, protects children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
The PSC program also works with the United States Marshals Service to track sex offenders who avoid registering and remain hidden amongst Maryland’s most vulnerable. Sex offender registration laws serve to notify and protect the community, schools and environments where children are prevalent. Sex offenders who avoid their registration requirements thwart the efforts to keep children safe. The federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act permits federal prosecution of individuals seeking to hide their past from the community and our children.
The District of Maryland has also benefited from the presence nearby of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) of the United States Department of Justice, which has supplied resources and expertise.
Click here for information on the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood.
For the Northern Division
AUSA Paul Budlow
U.S. Attorney's Office
36 S. Charles Street 4th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
For the Southern Division
AUSA Thomas Windom
U.S. Attorney's Office
6406 Ivy Lane Suite 800
Greenbelt, MD 20770
For examples of recent Project Safe Childhood prosecutions in Maryland, click on these links:
- Former Aide at a Prince George’s County Elementary School Pleads Guilty to 15 Counts of Production of Child Pornography