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Smartphone app to locate predators, rescue children

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Updated: 9/12/2013 9:38 pm
LAS VEGAS – Beginning today, Nevada smartphone users will be able to download a new app developed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that is designed to enlist the public’s help in efforts to locate fugitive and unknown child predator suspects.

ICE’s Operation Predator App is the first of its kind to be used by U.S. federal law enforcement. It can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store or from iTunes. ICE is also planning to expand compatibility to other smartphones in the near future. Tips from the public can be reported anonymously through the app, by phone or online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

ICE hopes the app will generate leads resulting in the identification of a man seen in videos encountered by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation special agents during the execution of a search warrant this year. In those videos, the man is sexually abusing a 10- to 12-year-old girl.

The suspect, whose name and whereabouts are unknown, is believed to be living somewhere in the United States or Canada, but he could be anywhere in the world. The first of four video files was uncovered by Interpol and submitted to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2006.

The four videos show a prepubescent girl being sexually abused by a bearded, blue-eyed adult male with short brown hair and glasses. He and the girl are in a wood paneled room with framed photos, a black computer, a desk with sewing machine and brown patterned curtains.

In addition to profiling John Doe cases like this, the new smartphone app contains photos and information about known fugitives in HSI criminal cases involving sexually abused and exploited children.

“When children are being sexually abused and exploited, it’s a race against the clock to rescue the child and bring the predator to justice,” said ICE Acting Director John Sandweg. “These investigations are one of our highest priorities, and in today’s world, we need to be technologically savvy and innovative in our approach.”

ICE’s Operation Predator App will allow users to receive alerts about wanted predators, to share the information with friends via email and social media tools, and to provide information to HSI by calling or submitting an online tip. Additionally, the app will allow users to view news about arrests and prosecutions of child predators and additional resources about ICE and its global partners in the fight against child exploitation.

HSI is requesting that anyone with information about the fugitives profiled on the app to contact the agency in one of two ways:
  • Call the ICE Tip Line, which is staffed 24-hours a day: (866) 347-2423 from the U.S. & Canada; (802) 872-6199 from anywhere in the world.
Individuals should not attempt to apprehend the suspect personally.

This launch of the new app is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at (866) 347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, (800) 843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

 From news release


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