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Project Safe Childhood

Project Safe Childhood Banner with kids' handprints

Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by the U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force

Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force is a partnership of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies led by the Indiana State Police. The Task Force is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting crimes involving the technology-facilitated sexual exploitation of children and the trafficking of child sexual abuse material. Each year, Indiana ICAC investigators evaluate thousands of tips, investigate hundreds of cases, and rescue dozens of children from ongoing sexual abuse.

What is Child Sexual Exploitation?

Child sexual exploitation is a type of sexual abuse. When a child or young person is exploited they're given things, like gifts, drugs, money, status and affection, in exchange for performing sexual activities. Children and young people are often abused by individuals related-to or in a position of trust with the child. The child may believe that they're in a loving and consensual relationship and may not understand that they are being abused.

Sometimes abusers use violence and intimidation to frighten or force a child, making them feel as if they've no choice. They may also take pictures or videos in secrecy without the child knowing.

Section 2256 of Title 18, United States Code, defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age). Visual depictions include photographs, videos, digital or computer generated images indistinguishable from an actual minor, and images created, adapted, or modified, but appear to depict an identifiable, actual minor. Undeveloped film, undeveloped videotape, and electronically stored data that can be converted into a visual image of child pornography are also deemed illegal visual depictions under federal law.

The legal definition of sexually explicit conduct does not require that an image depict a child engaging in sexual activity.  A picture of a naked child may constitute illegal child pornography if it is sufficiently sexually suggestive.

Federal law prohibits the production, distribution, reception, and possession of an image of child pornography using or affecting any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce. Specifically, Section 2251 makes it illegal to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for purposes of producing visual depictions of that conduct.

Federal jurisdiction is implicated if the child pornography offense occurred in interstate or foreign commerce. This includes, for example, using the U.S. Mails or common carriers to transport child pornography across state or international borders.  Additionally, federal jurisdiction almost always applies when the Internet is used to commit a child pornography violation.

Examples of Child Sexual Exploitation:

  • Being asked to send or post sexually explicit images of themselves
  • Being asked to film or stream sexual activities
  • Being asked to have sexual conversations
  • Exposing a child to pornography
  • Encouraging a child to perform sexual acts
  • Exposing a person’s genitals to a child
  • Performing sexual acts in a child’s presence
  • Photographing a child in sexual poses

Possible Signs of Sexual Exploitation in Children: 

  • Inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Being frightened of some people, places or situations.
  • Secretiveness
  • Sharp changes in mood or character.
  • Having money or things that can't be explained
  • Physical signs of abuse, like bruises or bleeding in their genital area
  • Sexually transmitted infections.
  • Having an older boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Staying out late or overnight.
  • Missing from home or school

Related: What is Sextortion?

If you are a victim of child sexual exploitation, please contact your local police department.

Child Advocacy Centers in the Southern District of Indiana:

Children’s advocacy centers (CACs) are community-based, child-friendly, and trauma-informed organizations that coordinate a multidisciplinary response to child maltreatment allegations. CACs deliver a best practice model that bring together, often in one location, child protective services investigators, law enforcement, forensic interviewers, prosecutors, family advocates, and medical and mental health professionals to provide a coordinated, comprehensive response to victims and their caregivers.



Terre Haute

New Albany


Beacon of Hope Crisis Center

Susie’s Place-Terre Haute

CAC of Southeastern Indiana – Madison

Holly’s House

Children’s Advocacy Center of Randolph County


Comfort House

Southwestern Indiana Child Advocacy Center Coalition

Delaware County CAC, a Division of Meridian Services Corp.


Family and Children’s Place


Firefly Children & Family Alliance                                                       


Family and Children’s Place- Clark County


Jacy House 


Kids Talk Child Advocacy Center, Aspire Indiana


Legacy House       


Marion County Child Advocacy Center          




Susie’s Place- Bloomington


Susie’s Place- Avon


The Cherish Center


Zoey’s Place- Hancock County


Relevant Press:

Updated September 13, 2023