In 1998, the United States Department of Justice began an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force tasked with interdicting the growing problem of Internet-related exploitation of children. The ICAC Task Force laid the foundation for what would become a nationwide partnership of law enforcement agencies with the mission of protecting children online. Currently there are 61 ICAC Task Forces located across the United States representing over 2,000 federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. Since its inception, the ICAC Task Force program has investigated over 280,000 complaints of alleged child sexual exploitation and arrested almost 30,000 individuals.
The Indiana ICAC Task Force is comprised of over 50 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies under the leadership of the Indiana State Police. In existence since 2002, the Indiana ICAC Task Force has consistently been recognized as one of the most successful and productive of the 61 ICAC task forces across the country. This includes being recognized by U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder in August 2010 during his announcement of the first ever National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction.
The Indiana ICAC Task Force was the first in the country to implement a program of on-scene, forensically sound previews of suspect computers and digital media. This allows the task force to bring together functional teams that include experts in crime scene investigation, digital device forensics, child victim interview, and sex offender investigation during what are some of the most challenging of all criminal investigations. The Indiana State Police was honored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for leading the innovation of on-scene forensic computer previews.
In 2011, the Indiana ICAC Task Force conducted over 600 criminal investigations resulting in the arrest of 199 people. Task Force members conducted over 1,600 forensic examinations of digital media suspected of being used in the trading of child pornography or solicitation of children.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect. The ICAC Task Force Program is an important partnership that focuses its efforts to protect children on-line and hold offenders accountable. The ICAC Task Force investigators are committed to working tirelessly to strengthen police relationships and promoting awareness and participation in order to produce positive results that help make the Internet a safer place for America’s children. Anyone having information regarding online sexual exploitation of children should report this information to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children via a CyberTip (http://www.cybertipline.com) or their local Indiana State Police Post.
*Information from the Indiana State Police