MIAMI (CBSMiami) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thursday launched a new smartphone app that enlists the public’s help to locate child predators and rescue children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
ICE’s Operation Predator App is the first of its kind in federal law enforcement and is available for free at the iTunes store.
It contains photos and information about known fugitives in HSI criminal cases involving sexually abused and exploited children.
Users can receive alerts about wanted predators and provide information to HSI by calling or submitting an online tip, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Additionally, the app enables 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.
The most urgent case involves an unidentified man wanted for producing child pornography involving the sexual abuse of a 10 to 12-year-old girl. This “John Doe” is an unknown suspect and is believed to be living somewhere in the United States or Canada, but he could be anywhere in the world.
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 hopes to expand the app to other smartphones in the near future
HSI’s Victim Identification Program seeks to rescue child victims of sexual abuse and exploitation and bring the perpetrators to justice.
These investigations are 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 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.