Child sexual abuse materials are defined as images or videos which show a child engaged or depicted as being engaged in explicitly sexual material .
Internet crimes related to child exploitation have increased dramatically. This is due to the widespread adoption of internet-enabled smartphones, tablets, and PCs, and the growing use of messaging, mobile cameras, and social media.
The spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online is a serious issue that requires a multi-faceted approach. ICAC commanders are engaged in both proactive and reactive investigations, forensic investigations, and criminal prosecutions for federal, state, and local law .
What are 5 things every ICAC needs to know?
The scope and nature of online child exploitation: ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) Commanders need to understand the types of crimes being committed against children online. This includes the different forms of exploitation (such as child pornography and online enticement), the different platforms and technologies that are being used to commit these crimes, and the psychological impact that these crimes can have on victims. Child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is usually stored and shared on a variety of online platforms, including the dark web, file-sharing networks, social media sites, and chat forums. The most common method of sharing CSAM is through file-sharing networks, which allow users to upload and share files anonymously.
Social media sites are also used to distribute CSAM, as well as to groom potential victims and establish contact with offenders. Finally, offenders may use dark websites to view, trade, or produce CSAM anonymously. It is important to note that offenders may use multiple platforms at once, so it is important to be aware of all the different platforms they may be using.
As CSAM content continues to be perpetuated the victims must face the psychological damage that it causes. They may find themselves reliving the events and facing long-term effects in their daily lives.
The importance of partnerships and collaboration: ICAC Commanders should prioritize building strong partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, victim advocacy groups, and technology companies. This collaboration is essential for effective investigations and can help raise awareness of the issue and promote prevention efforts. ICAC commanders should also look into the training and technical assistance they need to conduct effective investigations and prosecutions.
Training providers include:
- Search- National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics, provides training related to social networking sites, peer-to-peer file sharing, wireless networks, and cell phone technology for law enforcement, prosecutors, and allied professionals.
- The National White Collar Crime Center- provides training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and other stakeholders in the ICAC program to improve investigative, prosecutorial, and forensic capabilities; create and distribute guidelines, best practices, and investigative methodologies; and coordinate meetings with grantees and practitioners.
- Innocent Justice Founder- provides mental health and wellness program for ICAC task forces to address negative effects and trauma for individuals exposed to child sexual abuse images through their work.
- National Criminal Justice Training Center- provides training focused on investigative techniques and best practices for undercover operations to combat ICAC and site-specific technical assistance to ICAC Task Forces.
- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children- facilitates training to law enforcement; prosecutors; and criminal- and juvenile-justice, child-serving, and healthcare professionals on issues related to missing and exploited children .
The significance of data analysis and intelligence gathering: ICAC Commanders should have a deep understanding of the importance of data analysis and intelligence gathering in the fight against online child exploitation. This includes collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data from various sources, such as social media platforms, internet service providers, and online marketplaces. By developing a comprehensive understanding of the tactics and behaviors of online predators, ICAC Commanders can improve the effectiveness of investigations and prevent future crimes. Effective data analysis and intelligence gathering can also help identify emerging trends and areas of concern, allowing ICAC agencies to develop proactive prevention strategies.
The role of technology in investigations: ICAC Commanders need to stay up-to-date on the latest technological tools and trends that can be used to investigate online child exploitation. This includes understanding how to use social media platforms and other online services to identify and track offenders, as well as the use of forensic tools to analyze digital evidence.
ADF is victim/witness-focused and places importance on victim-centered approaches. ICAC Commanders must prioritize the needs and well-being of victims throughout the investigative process.
This includes providing trauma-informed care and support, ensuring that victims are not re-victimized by the legal process, and collaborating with victim advocacy organizations to provide resources and services to victims and their families. Victim-centered approaches can help to build trust with victims and their families and improve the overall effectiveness of ICAC investigations.
ADF provides digital forensic software that aids ICAC commanders in making rapid determinations on scene. DEI PRO lets them collect, analyze and report on child exploitation cases at the start of an investigation so they can police internet crimes with intelligence. With the ability to quickly and easily collect evidence from IOS and Android phones, tablets, and computers.
DEI PRO collects digital evidence in cybercrime and presents it in a timeline view. ICAC commanders can tie the user to files and artifacts creating a digital evidence collection to help them solve investigations and reduce forensic backlogs.
The importance of prevention and education: Finally, ICAC Commanders should prioritize prevention and education efforts. This includes working with schools and community groups to raise awareness of internet safety issues, as well as developing and implementing prevention programs to help children and families protect themselves from online predators.
By mastering these five areas, ICAC Commanders can help to ensure that their agencies are effective in investigating and preventing online child exploitation.