Innocent Images National Initiative Unit

The Innocent Images National Initiative Unit, part of the FBI’s Cyber Division, started in 1995. Its focus is on crimes against children that are facilitated through the use of technology such as computers, digital cameras, and audio equipment, including online sexual exploitation of children, activities by traffickers and exploiters who entice minors through online activities, and online entities that profit from crimes against children (DOJ, 2009, 2010; FBI, 2012a, undated). More than 300 FBI special agents work on cyber crimes against children and participate in a number of multisector efforts aimed at fostering federal, state, and local interagency cooperation and collaboration. These efforts include the Project Safe Childhood Initiative and the Department of Justice–funded Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces, described in more detail below. (See Chapter 10 for further discussion of multisector and interagency efforts to address commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors.)

Crimes Against Children Unit

Established in 1997, the FBI’s Crimes Against Children Unit, housed within the agency’s Violent Crime Section, has oversight over a variety of crimes against children, including child abduction and interstate transportation of and obscene matter involving children (DOJ, 2009). A further responsibility of this unit that is germane to this report is oversight over the sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of children. More than 100 special agents in the FBI’s 56 field offices are designated as crimes against children coordinators. It is from this unit that the Innocence Lost National Initiative, described below, originated (DOJ, 2009).

Innocence Lost National Initiative

Innocence Lost is a national initiative launched by the FBI in 2003. Working together with the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, this initiative specifically addresses domestic sex trafficking of minors in the United States through 47 dedicated task forces and working groups that meet regularly (FBI, 2012a). The task forces generally are headed by an FBI special agent and include representatives of law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels; prosecutors; representatives of U.S. Attorney’s Offices; social service providers; and others. Those participating in the groups receive regular training provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in conjunction with the FBI regarding the nature of sex trafficking, including

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