~ On Tuesday at NAAG meeting in Washington DC, the two attorneys general will showcase advanced technology and encourage colleagues around the country to join the fight against child exploitation ~
RICHMOND, Va. – Attorney General Mark R. Herring and South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley today announced the launch of the national “Campaign for Child Rescue”, an ambitious new joint partnership of law enforcement, private industry leaders and nonprofit organizations to leverage advanced technology to locate and rescue children from sexual exploitation and trafficking.
The campaign kicks off this week in Washington, D.C. at the annual winter meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), where Attorney General Herring and Attorney General Jackley on Tuesday will showcase the potential of new technology to fight child exploitation and ask other attorneys general to expand the reach and power of the campaign by adopting and deploying advanced technology in their own states that can reduce investigation time, build stronger cases, and allow for the faster identification and rescue of child victims.
“Virginia’s law enforcement and high tech communities have been on the cutting edge of leveraging new technology to find and rescue children and to put those who try to exploit them behind bars,” said Attorney General Herring. “By enlisting our colleagues across the country in the fight, along with our nonprofit and private sector technology partners, we can expand the power and reach of our efforts to make sure that we keep pace with these criminals and get children out of danger as quickly as possible.”
“There is no higher or more urgent priority in law enforcement than protecting our children,” said Attorney General Jackley. “Law enforcement in every state is locked in a high tech fight to rescue children from child pornographers and traffickers. The Campaign for Child Rescue provides the new technology to identify and share information for law enforcement investigators.”
Virginia is one of just five states that have deployed advanced software to facilitate fast, strong investigations that allow law enforcement to identify and rescue child victims as quickly as possible. The Virginia Office of Attorney General purchased the software for the use of the Virginia State Police in the Northern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children center. If additional states adopt this technology, Virginia and other participating states will be able to more easily coordinate investigations across state lines and share information about victims and perpetrators.
The attorneys generals are joining forces with The National Association to PROTECT Children and PROJECT VIC, an international technology consortium. The project helps develop and deploy technology donated by several industry partners, including Microsoft and software developer Griffeye.
Project VIC coordinator Rich Brown, a retired Bureau Chief New Jersey State Police, says the new attorneys general’s campaign will ensure resources are deployed to identify and rescue children in every state.
“These crimes cross all state and national borders,” said Brown. “But the child victims reside in local communities throughout the United States. The mission can’t succeed without this kind of strong law enforcement leadership.”
The “Campaign for Child Rescue” is also designed to support beleaguered law enforcement personnel on the front lines of the fight. According to Herring and Jackley, the technologies being adopted will allow investigators to reduce by 70 percent or more their exposure to video and photos depicting sexual abuse of children, enabling them to focus instead on children still awaiting rescue.
Attorney General Herring has made the investigation and prosecution of child exploitation and child pornography a stronger priority in the Attorney General’s Office. During his administration, his team has secured 88 convictions with total sentences of 491 years in prison. His Computer Forensics Unit has examined more than 2,000 devices in more than 400 different cases.