Rescuing Victims Of Child Sexual Abuse

 

 

With every report to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and every law enforcement investigation dealing with child sexual abuse material, a largely unseen—but urgent—effort begins to identify and aid the child or children being harmed in the images.

It is an effort that relies on technology and painstaking investigative work—where details as small as a baseball cap or a soda cup have provided the clues that allowed investigators to find a child.

At the FBI, the Endangered Child Alert Program (ECAP) works alongside Operation Rescue Me to explore every possible avenue in identifying a child victim of sexual abuse. Operation Rescue Me is focused on rescuing the child victim from further abuse and exploitation. In pursuit of that same goal, ECAP seeks national and international exposure of unknown adults whose faces and/or distinguishing characteristics are visible in images of child sexual abuse.

Special Agent Karen Jurden, who heads both programs within the FBI’s Violent Crime Section, explained the two programs this way: “Our goal is to identify victims. But if we’ve exhausted everything we can do on the child, and we have an image where an adult does appear, we will pursue that angle.”

She stressed that the adults featured on ECAP are not always suspected of wrongdoing. “We know that person has knowledge of the victim,” she said.

You can view images of adults of interest in current cases on the ECAP site and below. There are also a number of images that show items in the background of an image or something a child or an adult is wearing.

“There is nothing better than knowing publicity has helped our agents solve one of these cases and identify a child.”

Chris Allen, chief, FBI Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit
With a larger number of eyes on these pictures, there is a greater likelihood that someone will spot a person or item they recognize and help point law enforcement in the right direction.

“Every time we have a new case, it draws people’s attention to older cases as well,” Jurden said. “People have helped us solve older cases that way.”

“For every ECAP case we work on, we use every available publicity tool to ensure the maximum number of people will see the images,” said Chris Allen, chief of the FBI’s Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit. “There is nothing better than knowing publicity has helped our agents solve one of these cases and identify a child.”

The Effort to Identify Every Child Victim

When the FBI (or any law enforcement agency) seizes child sexual abuse material from an offender—and Jurden said many offenders have hundreds or thousands of files—the FBI brings the material to NCMEC.

NCMEC runs a digital scan that checks the material against images and videos that already exist in their system, explained Shelley Allwang, manager of NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification Program. The process allows NCMEC to see which victims are already known to them.

These children have either already been reached or NCMEC is actively working with law enforcement both domestically and internationally to identify them.

The most pressing goal, Allwang said, is to find “the children we have never seen before because these could be children who are being victimized right now.”

Allwang said NCMEC has a number of high-tech and human tools to help in the process of identifying these victims, but if they reach a dead-end, they return the case to the investigators who brought them the material. “We are not law enforcement,” Allwang stressed, “so we can only use the tools we have.”

If the file began with an FBI case, the charge of identifying that still unknown victim comes back to FBI agents and becomes an active case within the Operation Rescue Me program and possibly ECAP.

Jurden and Allwang both acknowledge that the number of these cases and the volume of images can give rise to feelings of both fury and hopelessness. But while the scale of the crime is daunting, these cases are not being lumped together by law enforcement or by NCMEC. The two groups are committed to the heartbreaking work of cataloging each image and finding the children in them.

“If you look at the totality, you won’t sleep at night,” Jurden said. “The answer is to take it case by case. It is rewarding to wake up each day and know you’re doing something. And to know I’m not the only one doing this.”

Allwang also said she is comforted both by thinking of her impact on individual children and by the knowledge that there is a global network of people who are fighting alongside her. “So many people from so many different professions are invested in solving this problem—technology companies, law enforcement, advocates, media, prosecutors, judges,” Allwang said. “They are all motivated by the mission.”

Allwang said she is also moved by the bravery and resilience she sees in survivors of child sexual abuse. “I see the worst of humanity,” she said. “But I also see the best.”

The FBI began ECAP in 2004 and it has investigated 41 cases to date. The program has successfully identified 28 of the individuals profiled and found 45 child victims. The remaining cases remain active investigations. And the FBI will stay on them—case by case, child by child.

How to Help

Make a report regarding child sexual exploitation using NCMEC’s CyberTipline.
Learn how NCMEC can help remove child sexual abuse material online and more at the Get Help Now section of their website.

Review the FBI’s and NCMEC’s free resources to help parents and children learn more about staying safe.

Learn more about online exploitation. While hands-on abuse is almost always carried out by someone in a child’s immediate orbit, children can be exploited online by a predator who lives anywhere.

ECAP

On February 21, 2004, the FBI began its Endangered Child Alert Program (ECAP) as a new proactive approach to identifying unknown individuals involved in the sexual abuse of children and the production of child sexual abuse material.

A collaborative effort between the FBI and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, ECAP seeks national and international exposure of unknown adults (referred to as John/Jane Does) whose faces and/or distinguishing characteristics are visible in child sexual abuse material.

FBI Seeks Help To Arrest Six Nigerians Over N2.4bn Internet Fraud

A photo combination of six Nigerians indicted by the United States' FBI for wire fraud
A photo combination of six Nigerians indicted by the United States’ FBI for wire fraud

 

The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) on Saturday said it was seeking assistance in finding six Nigerians wanted for their involvement in fraudulent activities worth over N2.3bn ($6m).

“Help the #FBI find ​six Nigerian nationals wanted for their involvement in ​business​ email ​compromise (BEC) schemes resulting in over $6 ​million in losses,” the US agency said on its verified Twitter handle.

 

The FBI-indicted Nigerians include Richard Izuchukwu Uzuh, Alex Afolabi Ogunshakin, Felix Osilama Okpoh, Abiola Ayorinde Kayode, and Nnamdi Orson Benson.

The FBI said all six are “believed to currently reside in Nigeria.

According to the FBI, the six were part of an operation that “allegedly sent spoofed emails to thousands of businesses in the United States requesting fraudulent wire transfers.”

Epstein: Prince Andrew Yet To Grant FBI’s Request For Interview – US Prosecutor

FILES) Britain’s Prince Andrew has said on August 18, 2019 he was “appalled” by allegations of sexual abuse surrounding Jeffrey Epstein after a video was released purporting to show him at the home of the convicted paedophile in 2010.  LEON NEAL / AFP

 

Prince Andrew has provided “zero cooperation” regarding late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and has yet to respond to an FBI request for an interview, a US prosecutor said Monday.

Andrew denies claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured by Epstein and said in November he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required.”

But New York attorney Geoffrey Berman, who is leading an investigation into possible co-conspirators of Epstein’s, said his office and the FBI had not heard from Andrew despite his offer to cooperate.

“To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation,” Berman told reporters during a news conference outside Epstein’s former New York home where Andrew has admitted staying at in the past.

Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to request for comment when contacted by AFP.

Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, 59, was forced to step back from royal duties after he faced outrage over an interview with the BBC late last year in which he defended his friendship with disgraced US financier Epstein.

Epstein, 66 committed suicide in a New York jail last summer while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

He was a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager who befriended countless celebrities over the years, including US President Donald Trump.

Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and another of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.

He denied the charges but was facing up to 45 years in jail if found guilty. His death also deprived countless alleged victims of justice.

Dozens of women who say they were abused by Epstein have sued his estate and prosecutors have pledged to pursue any accomplices.

“Jeffrey Epstein couldn’t have done what he did without the assistance of others and I can assure you that our investigation is moving forward,” Berman said Monday.

Epstein’s death fueled several conspiracy theories, mostly speculating that he was murdered to stop him revealing compromising information about some of his wealthy acquaintances.

Epstein was convicted in Florida in 2008 of paying young girls for massages but served just 13 months in jail under a secret plea deal struck with the then state prosecutor.

Cybercrime: 167 Nigerians Arrested In EFCC, FBI Joint Operation

 

The collaborative operation between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (E.F.C.C) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested 167 Nigerians for alleged computer-related frauds.

This was disclosed at a joint press briefing by both agencies in Lagos on Tuesday.

According to the Director Of Operations, EFCC, Mohammed Abba, the suspects were arrested barely one month when the operation rewired collaboration was launched.

He added that the sum of $169,850, as well as the sum of N92 million, four exotic cars and,  landed property in Abuja and Lagos, have been recovered.

“From August 12, 2019, till date, the collaborative operation rewired coordinated by the EFCC Nigeria as an impetus to our sustained operation of perpetrators of various computer-related frauds have resulted in the arrest of 167 Nigerians for alleged computer-related frauds.

“We have also recovered from the arrested fraudsters, the sum of $169,850 as well as the sum of N92 million.

“Also, four exotic cars, plots of land in choice areas in Lagos and property in Abuja were also recovered during the collaborative operations.”

READ ALSO: Over 1,400 Killed By Gunmen Within Six Months In Nigeria – UN

Meanwhile, the FBI legal attaché to the US Embassy in Nigeria, Ahamdi Uche, said that the US global reporting internet fraud body received a total of 20,373 Business Email Compromise complaints with losses of over $1.2 billion.

“In 2018, the IC3 (Global reporting internet fraud body), received 20,373 Business Email Compromise complaints with losses of over 1.2 billion dollars.

“The global goal of this operation is to send a message to all who participate in the scheme that they will be caught and prosecuted, regardless of where they are located.”

EFCC Arrests Notorious Internet Fraudster Wanted By FBI

 

One of the suspected internet fraudsters, wanted by the Federal Bureau Of Investigation, (FBI) Joseph Oyediran, has been arrested by operatives of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ilorin zonal office in Kwara State.

The zonal head of the EFCC in Ilorin, Isyaku Sharu, disclosed this during a press conference on Friday to give updates on the EFCC/FBI collaboration in the fight against internet fraud and cybercrime.

According to Sharu, Oyediran had allegedly benefited about N60 million from the loot via Western Union transfers.

Read Also: [FBI Bust] EFCC Gathering Data On Indicted Nigerians In US – Magu

He further explained that the commission is committed to ensuring effective coordination of the Nigerian end of the investigation with the FBI and other partner international law enforcement agencies involved in the worldwide crackdown down on internet fraud.

He says within seven months of its operations in Ilorin, it has revved up efforts to rid the country of cybercrime which has resulted in the arrest of more than 50 persons involved in internet fraud.

Of the 50 persons, 25, according to Sharu have been successfully prosecuted.

Cybercrime: The Orientation Agency Has A Lot To Do, Says Ex-Rep Member

A former member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Dayo Bush-Alebiosu.

 

A former member of the House of Representatives, Dayo Bush-Alebiosu, has blamed the increasing rate of cybercrime among youths on the decay of societal morals.

Bush-Alebiosu, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, asked the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to urgently address the menace.

“The (National) Orientation Agency has a lot to do,” he said on Monday when asked how the activity can be well tackled.

“There is a need for cultural re-orientation, moral re-orientation. There is that need to be psyched as individuals.”

READ ALSO: FBI Bust: There’ll Be New Executive Orders To Tackle International Fraud – Presidency

The former lawmaker also asked the Federal Government to work on ways to review the Cybercrime Act with a view to modifying it.

He advised the NOA to liaise with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to effectively regulate what is being transmitted, in order to prevent negative influence on the youth.

“There is a need for the National Orientation Agency to work with the NBC. For example, music is a very powerful tool, and in the wrong hands can cause a lot of damage,” Bush-Alebiosu.

He added, “We have seen what Fela was able to do with it, we have seen what Bob Marley was able to do with music, we have seen what Orlando was able to do with it, and so many more.

“When we have young musicians who glorify certain things or certain acts, what do you think happens? It becomes popular, it becomes a norm. The abnormal becomes normal.”

Bush-Alebiosu’s comments were in reaction to the recent arrest of 80 persons, mostly Nigerians for various crimes including massive email fraud and money laundering in the United States.

The suspects were indicted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of netting millions of dollars from victims of internet con jobs.

FBI Bust: There’ll Be New Executive Orders To Tackle International Fraud – Presidency

 

The Presidency has said that new executive orders will be given to tackle international fraud. 

This is according to Mr Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity.

His comments come few days after US authorities announced charges against 80 people, most of which are Nigerians, in a wide-ranging fraud and money laundering operation that netted millions of dollars from victims of internet con jobs.

READ ALSO: FBI List: NIDCOM Warns Against Stereotyping All Nigerians

Reacting to the development, Mr Garba Shehu who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, said the present administration will work with all nations around the globe to fight criminality.

“The government will generate and ask for new laws from the National Assembly and there will be new executive orders that will block some of these loop holes that have been exploited by our fellow country men to go out there and embarrass and black paint the country”.

The President’s media aide said, “Every citizen of this country who travels out of the country, is required to obey the laws of their host countries,” adding that “the government would not stand in the way of the justice system.”

He further stressed that President Buhari is not one to excuse Nigerians from obeying laws of the country in which they reside.

Speaking about the negative impact and stigma which the recent bust by the FBI might have, Mr Shehu said, “The action of a single Nigerian is not the action of all Nigerians”.

He also stated that Nigerians are hardworking and honest people, and as such cannot all be termed fraudulent just because of the misdeeds of a very few.

 

 

FBI Investigating US Financier Epstein’s Death

The wealthy US financier Jeffrey Epstein, indicted on charges he trafficked underage girls for sex, committed suicide in prison, US news media reported on August 10, 2019. / AFP

 

The FBI is investigating the apparent suicide in a New York prison of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, the Justice Department said Saturday.

The department’s Bureau of Prisons made the announcement as questions were raised as to how a high-profile inmate who had apparently attempted to kill himself last month could take his life in what is supposed to be a highly secure federal facility in downtown Manhattan.

Epstein was charged with trafficking girls for sex.

READ ALSO: US Financier Epstein Commits Suicide In Prison

The bureau said Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center “from an apparent suicide.”

It said staff began life-saving measures and Epstein was eventually rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“The FBI is investigating the incident,” said the bureau.

AFP

Suspected Terrorist Arrested For Planning To Attack White House

 

Authorities in the US state of Georgia have arrested a 21-year-old man who sought to buy explosives and an anti-tank rocket for a “jihad” suicide attack on the White House planned for Thursday.

Byung Pak, the US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, announced the arrest of Hasher Taheb of Cumming, Georgia late Wednesday after a months-long FBI investigation sparked by a tip from the local community “that Taheb had become radicalized.”

According to the indictment, Taheb tried to recruit an informant and an undercover FBI agent into a plan to attack the White House and other targets in Washington, including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and an unnamed synagogue.

Wanting to fulfil his “duty” to conduct jihad and expecting to become a “martyr,” Taheb originally hoped to travel to Islamic State-held territory in the Middle East, he told the FBI source, the indictment said.

But because he had lost his passport, Taheb told the informant it would be better to launch attacks inside the United States.

On December 7, 2018, he met the undercover agent and revealed a hand-drawn diagram of the White House West Wing, where the president’s office is located.

In the subsequent weeks, Taheb detailed what weapons he wanted to acquire for the plot, and assigned the FBI agent to obtain them: semi-automatic weapons, grenades and an AT-4 shoulder-mounted anti-tank weapon.

His plan was for the trio to jointly launch the attack on what he referred to as “game day,” eventually pinpointed as January 17.

“Specifically, he described his plan to use the AT-4 to blow a hole in the White House so that the group could enter,” the indictment said.

Taheb advised the source “that jihad was the best deed in Islam and the peak of Islam,” the indictment said.

On Wednesday, the three met in the parking lot of a store in Buford, Georgia where the FBI agent was to hand over the explosives and weapons, all of which had been rendered inert.

When Taheb took delivery of the weapons, he was arrested.

Officials and the indictment provided no background on Taheb or whether he had made any contact with jihadist groups abroad.

But Pak said no targets in Washington or Georgia were ever truly threatened by the plot.

In a separate case, on Thursday a 49-year-old man, Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts or Abdur Raheem Rafeeq, was arrested in a Cleveland, Ohio suburb and charged with planning a terror attack on the city on July 4, the US Independence Day holiday.

Undercover FBI agents communicated with Pitts for months on the plot before arresting him.

“Pitts, a US citizen living in Ohio, pledged his allegiance to Al-Qaeda,” a Justice Department statement said.

AFP

Trump Blasts FBI For Probe Into Possible Co-operation With Russia

 

President Donald Trump blasted the FBI Saturday, insisting it acted “for no reason & with no proof” when it opened an investigation into whether he was acting on Russia’s behalf after he fired the agency’s director, James Comey, in May 2017.

The New York Times reported that the FBI launched the previously undisclosed counterintelligence investigation to determine whether Trump posed a national security threat, at the same time that it opened a criminal probe into possible obstruction of justice by the president.

The FBI investigation was subsequently folded into the broader probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and possible collaboration by the Trump campaign.

No evidence has publicly emerged that Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian officials, the Times said.

Trump Reacts

“Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!” Trump tweeted.

According to Trump, “the FBI was in complete turmoil … because of Comey’s poor leadership” and the way he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to send some government emails.

“My firing of James Comey was a great day for America,” Trump claimed, describing the former FBI director as “a Crooked Cop who is being totally protected by his best friend, Bob Mueller.”

The Times said that the FBI had been suspicious of Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign.

But it held off on opening an investigation until the president sacked Comey, who refused to pledge allegiance to Trump and roll back the nascent Russia investigation.

A ‘witch hunt’?

Trump has repeatedly criticized the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt” and views it as an attempt to besmirch the legitimacy of his presidency.

His press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said in a statement Saturday that the latest charges are “absurd,” adding, “James Comey was fired because he’s a disgraced partisan hack… (and) President Trump has actually been tough on Russia.”

Mueller, meanwhile, has issued dozens of indictments and steadily chalked up convictions of some of the president’s close associates — including his former national security advisor, his former personal lawyer, and his ex-campaign chief.

The ex-national security advisor, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his Moscow ties.

The lawyer, Michael Cohen, has been sentenced to three years in prison for multiple crimes, including felony violations of campaign finance laws that prosecutors allege were carried out under Trump’s direction.

And Trump’s former presidential campaign chair, Paul Manafort, has been convicted in one case brought by Mueller and pleaded guilty in another, over financial crimes related to his work in Ukraine before the 2016 campaign, and for witness tampering.

Cell phone records show that Cohen was near Prague during the summer of 2016, supporting claims that he met there with Russian officials during the presidential election campaign, McClatchy news service has reported.

Cohen, who will testify in Congress on February 7, insists that he has never been to Prague, but added in a tweet: “#Mueller knows everything!”

Manafort, meanwhile, has admitted to sharing polling data with a Russian during the 2016 presidential race, according to a court filing inadvertently made public by his lawyers. CNN reported that the intended recipients were two pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarchs.

Manafort has denied lying to investigators about his dealings with the Russian, Konstantin Kilimnik, a political consultant with alleged intelligence ties, claiming he merely forgot details during the hectic campaign.

The specifics of the Mueller allegations were not previously known publicly, having been blacked out in a heavily redacted December 7 filing by the prosecutor’s team.

But in Manafort’s response, the electronic formatting for the redaction could easily be bypassed, revealing exactly what he was accused of lying about.

Mueller’s grand jury investigation, meanwhile, has been extended by a judge beyond its original 18-month mandate.

FBI Warns Operations Threatened By US Govt Shutdown

FBI agents collect evidence at the home of suspected nightclub shooter Ian David Long, in Thousand Oaks, California.  Apu Gomes / AFP

 

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents warned Thursday that the ongoing partial shutdown of the government is threatening their ability to investigate crimes and maintain staffing.

“Special Agents remain at work for the American people without being paid, and FBI leadership is doing all it can to fund FBI operations with increasingly limited resources — this situation is not sustainable,” the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA) said in a statement.

“The important work done by the bureau needs to be funded immediately.”

The association represents the nearly 13,000 active special agents — the FBI’s core investigation force that probes everything from violent and financial crimes to espionage and terrorism.

The FBIAA warned in a petition to the White House and Congressional leaders that not receiving paychecks from January 11 due to the shutdown could damage the finances of agents.

“Missing payments on debts could create delays in securing or renewing security clearances, and could even disqualify agents from continuing to serve in some cases,” it said.

“The ongoing financial insecurity caused by the failure to fund the FBI could lead some FBI Agents to consider career options that provide more stability for their families,” it added.

The shutdown began on December 22 after President Donald Trump rejected a government funding bill that did not meet his demand for billions of dollars to build a wall on the US-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration.

That has meant potentially unpaid furloughs for 800,000 federal workers and millions of contract workers.

AFP

Trump Threatens To Uphold Shutdown Until Wall Is Funded

 

President Donald Trump vowed Tuesday he would not reopen the government until he gets $5 billion to fund his border wall, as the partial government shutdown dragged into a fourth day.

Trump’s demand for a physical barrier on the US-Mexico border — a pillar of his election platform — has been rejected by Democrats and some Republicans. In retaliation, Trump refused last week to sign a wider spending bill, temporarily stripping funding from swaths of the government.

“I can’t tell you when the government is going to be open,” the Republican president told reporters at the White House after his annual Christmas teleconference with US troops.

“I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it.”

READ ALSO: Queen Elizabeth Calls For Christmas Calm In Brexit Storm

Trump reaffirmed a claim made on Twitter Monday that he had approved a contract for the construction of 115 miles (185 kilometers) of wall in Texas, although the White House has not offered any details on the project.

He said he would visit that stretch of the border “at the end of January for the start of construction.”

“It’s going to be built, hopefully rapidly,” he said.

The president said he aimed to have a barrier stretching across 500 to 550 miles of the 2,000-mile border, and “to have it either renovated or brand new by election time.”

“It’s going to all workout,” he said, adding that some furloughed federal workers also favor the construction of border wall Trump says will discourage illegal immigration.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said at the weekend the president “must abandon the wall, plain and simple” to reopen the government.

Trump ended the session by railing against the Democrats and former FBI director James Comey, whom he sacked in May 2017 in a move he later said stemmed from frustration over the federal investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign Russian interference in the 2016 US vote.

“It’s a disgrace, what’s happening in our country,” Trump said. “But other than that, I wish everybody a very Merry Christmas.”