SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – Children in communities in Bexar County and all over the world are being abused in many different ways.
From physical assault and sexual assault to child pornography, child exploitation and child trafficking, all are different and equally concerning types of abuse.
But local, state, and federal agencies are working together to keep children safe.
“Victims are left with permanent physical, emotional, and psychological damage,” said Department of Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Harry Jimenez.
Jimenez said that to save children from these nightmares, the combined agencies formed Project Safe Childhood in 2006.
“We could pool our resources and identify and rescue as many children as possible, and to prosecute those responsible for the exploitation of children,” said Project Safe Childhood coordinator Tracy Thompson.
The San Antonio Police Department, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are all working on Project Safe Childhood.
“None of us are here looking for credit,” said Jim Wheat, with the District Attorney’s Office. “We’re looking to get the results.”
Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said it’s working.
“Just last week, an individual was given a life,sentence for being a child predator,” she said.
But there’s still a long way to go.
“There are parts of this issue, especially with human trafficking of children that often is difficult to prosecute (and) difficult to prove because of the laws that are in place,” Pamerleau said.
She said she wants to call attention to the Texas Legislature, which is currently considering legislation that will provide better tools for agencies to prosecute these crimes.