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Bureau Initiative Focuses on Child Sex Tourism Help the Victims, Apprehend the Abusers

June 2, 2014 · 

Bureau Initiative Focuses on Child Sex Tourism
Help the Victims, Apprehend the Abusers
From: Federal Bureau of Investigation Website (

Last month, the FBI asked for the public¹s help in a case involving a suspected serial child predator who for years taught in private international schools overseas. The suspect committed suicide after his employer saw pornographic images on his thumb drive, but as part of our subsequent investigation‹when we began the process of identifying and notifying the victims shown in these images‹we also asked that possible victims and others who may have information come forward, not only to aid investigators but to potentially access our victim assistance services.

Child sex tourism‹people traveling to another country specifically to engage in illegal sexual conduct with children‹is a very real issue that causes devastating and long-lasting psychological and physical consequences for victims. And the problem is growing, thanks to the relative ease of international travel coupled with the popularity of the Internet in helping individuals exchange information about how and where to find child victims in foreign locations.

The U.S. State Department estimates that more than a million children are exploited each year in the global commercial sex trade. That¹s in addition to the untold number of young victims of non-commercial sexual conduct.

But whether it involves commercial or non-commercial sex acts, the FBI‹in conjunction with our domestic and international law enforcement partners‹investigates U.S. citizens and permanent residents who travel overseas to engage in illegal sexual conduct with children under the age of 18. Since 2008, our Child Sex Tourism Initiative has employed proactive strategies to address the crime, including working with foreign law enforcement and non-governmental organizations to provide child victims with support services and to investigate and prosecute individuals engaging in child sex tourism.

The FBI also shares intelligence products with our overseas law enforcement partners that focus on trends, methods of operations, offenders, etc. And we offer training to foreign law enforcement and non-governmental organizations to build capacity and develop an effective team approach to address the problem. Intelligence sharing and training help develop cohesive multi-disciplinary teams, which in turn enable better international cooperation during the investigation of these crimes.

Children from developing countries are often seen as easy targets by Americans. Our investigations, however, have shown that American perpetrators travel to a variety of locations‹from less developed areas in Southeast Asia and Central and South America to more developed areas in Europe. But it makes no difference where these crimes occur‹any U.S. citizen or permanent resident who engages in sexual contact with a minor overseas is subject to prosecution under various U.S. laws.

And these laws were strengthened in 2003 with the passage of the federal PROTECT Act, which authorized a variety of additional prosecutive remedies and other tools to use against those who victimize children. It also makes clear that there is no statute of limitations for crimes involving the abduction or physical or sexual abuse of a child.

So a word of warning to perpetrators of this horrendous crime: No matter where you go, no matter how long it takes, you will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

And a word of comfort to the victims: The FBI will work with your countries¹ authorities and non-governmental organizations to bring perpetrators to justice and to help coordinate the services you need.

– Violent Crimes Against Children program

– Office for Victim Assistance

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