Child Porn Arrests Increase Via Software Spotting Images Online

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An increasing number of arrests are resulting from breakthroughs in software that can monitor the digital-age trafficking of images depicting child sexual exploitation and rape, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The frustrating truth is that the technology finds many more criminal targets than law enforcement officials can afford to arrest and prosecute. “We have the key, but we are barely using it,” said Heather Steele of the Innocent Justice Foundation, a nonprofit group fighting child pornography.

Investigative units can detect computers that are exchanging sexually explicit images of children online. During a recent month, the systems identified more than 5,600 such Internet computer addresses in Louisiana. Investigators say they lack the staff and resources to conduct the forensic analysis and prosecution of more than a small fraction of those perpetrators. A substantial number of those who collect sexually explicit images of children also pose a threat as child molesters. The 176 arrests for Internet crimes against children reported by state and local agencies in the most recent fiscal year was a 180 percent increase from the previous year. Nationwide arrests last year in cases related to sexually explicit images of children rose 27 percent and were nearly double the number in 2005, says the U.S. Department of Justice.

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