characteristics and behaviors of victims and related topics. In addition, task force members and working groups share information gathered that is suggestive of sex trafficking of minors. Leads on sex trafficking of minors also originate from local law enforcement operations and observation, Internet monitoring, and tips reported directly to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s 24-hour CyberTipline (see Box 5-1). If appropriate, a federal-level investigation of domestic sex trafficking of minors may be initiated as a result of these collaborations and leads (DOJ, 2009).

An important tool used by Innocence Lost is a database of information on both children who have been exploited through force and/or coercion and exploiters, first deployed in 2008 (DOJ, 2009). Data are available to authorized local law enforcement agents and FBI personnel only through the shared Law Enforcement Online network. This database provides information on interstate movement, names, aliases, and physical characteristics

BOX 5-1
Use of Tips from the Public and Electronic Service Providers to Enhance the Law Enforcement Response to Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC’s) CyberTipline is an Internet-based reporting tool operated in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service, military criminal investigative organizations, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force program, as well as other state and local law enforcement agencies (Allen, 2012). Reports to the CyberTipline are made by the public and by U.S.-based electronic service providers (i.e., companies that provide electronic communication services or remote computing services to the public) as required by federal law* (NCMEC, 2013). CyberTipline reporting categories include, among others, possession, manufacture, and distribution of child pornography; online enticement of children for sexual acts; child prostitution; and sex tourism involving children (NCMEC, 2013).

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, since 1998 the CyberTipline has received more than 1.6 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation. Information gathered via the CyberTipline is shared with law enforcement and prosecutors to assist them in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting child sexual exploitation crimes.


*18 U.S.C. § 2258A.
SOURCES: Allen, 2012; NCMEC, 2013.

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