April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
BLUE BULLETIN CAMPAIGN
April 2020 has been proclaimed by the President as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The proclamation calls upon individuals to be aware of children’s safety and well-being, and to support efforts that promote their psychological, physical, and emotional development. April is also a time to highlight the importance of working together to prevent the abuse and neglect of children.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to protecting children from abuse and educating them about how to protect themselves. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) created the Angel Watch Center in 2016 to expand its work with foreign law enforcement partners, alerting them about the intended travel by convicted registered child sex offenders from the United States to their countries. The Center ultimately aims to stop the spread of transnational child sexual abuse.
Additionally, ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)’s Project iGuardian program provides children, teens, parents, and teachers with information regarding the potential dangers of online environments and how to stay safe online. The iGuardian program team is committed to providing safety tips, a number to call, and resources to the public to avoid falling victim to online sexual predators.
As part of HSI’s Operation Predator, which was first launched in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 31,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for the purpose of sexually abusing minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2019, more than 3,900 child predators were arrested by HSI Special Agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims were identified or rescued.
To report a crime, you can utilize the HSI online tip form. Report suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children® via its toll-free 24-hour hotline at 1-800-843-5678.
News You Can Use
COVID-19 Resources, Services, and Support (Office of Health & Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children & Families)
The Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) is focused on preventing human trafficking and working to ensure that children and adults who have experienced trafficking and their families get the support and care they need to live safe and healthy lives. This focus remains the same during responses to public health emergencies such as COVID-19. As in times of disaster response, HHS recognizes that disruptions to local services, housing and economic stability, and social disconnection can further increase risk for victimization and exploitation.
Across the country, children have shifted to virtual learning which results in significantly more time spent online. In order to protect them, the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit at HSI reminds families that the agency has a variety of tools available on its iGuardian webpage to keep children safe while using the Internet.
School Closings Due to COVID-19 Present Potential for Increased Risk of Child Exploitation (Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI))
Due to school closings as a result of COVID-19, the FBI is seeking to warn parents, educators, caregivers, and children about the dangers of online sexual exploitation and signs of child abuse.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is fully operational during this health emergency. Polaris is continuing to update its website with resources and information for survivors.
Social Media Shareables
Tag Blue Campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using @DHSBlueCampaign. Each month we share content you can distribute on your social channels to raise awareness of human trafficking in your communities.
- Do you know how to stay safe online? Learn more from @DHSBlueCampaign: https://bit.ly/2xhHBJW
- Predators and traffickers can gain access to victims online because people are not always aware of how dangerous these environments can be or how to keep themselves safe. Learn more from @DHSBlueCampaign:
- The Internet is a great way to stay in touch, but predators and traffickers oftentimes stalk online meeting places such as social media sites to lure their victims. Learn more from @DHSBlueCampaign: https://bit.ly/2xhHBJW
For more information visit the Blue Campaign
To report suspected human trafficking: 1-866-347-2423
To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888
or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733)