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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. Homeland Security Investigations Lights Up Louisiana for New Outreach Campaign, National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Homeland Security Investigations Lights Up Louisiana for New Outreach Campaign, National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Release Date: April 18, 2024

NEW ORLEANS — In recognition of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new national Know2Protect™ outreach campaign and National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New Orleans is working with public and private sector organizations to encourage safe online practices for children.

Through this partnership with HSI, state landmarks including the Caesar’s Superdome in New Orleans and the Capitol building in Baton Rouge displayed the Know2Protect campaign colors April 17 and 18 to help promote public awareness.

Photo of the Caesar's Superdome lit up in Know2Protect colors.

Know2Protect is a DHS campaign designed to educate and empower children, teens, parents, trusted adults and policymakers to fight against online child sexual exploitation and abuse. In the last decade, this crime has increased exponentially and is now a global epidemic. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children receives 80,000 daily reports of suspected child sexual abuse material.

“The new Know2Protect campaign shines a light on a horrific crime that has become unfortunately all too common. Online predators are a real, potent threat with sometimes unfettered access to our nation’s children,” said HSI New Orleans acting Special Agent in Charge Eric DeLaune. “With its unique authorities and responsibilities, HSI special agents are positioned to combat online child exploitation, both here at home and internationally. Working with our community and law enforcement partners, HSI will leverage the Know2Protect initiative to inform parents, youth, and educators about the dangers of online predators, and offer guidance and best practices to navigate the online realm.”

HSI is a global leader in combating online child sexual exploitation and abuse. It’s committed to using its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and nongovernment partnerships to identify and rescue child victims, apprehend offenders, prevent transnational child sexual abuse and help make the internet a safer place for children.

The lack of public understanding about online child sexual exploitation and abuse, coupled with increased technology use among children and teens, has created space for these crimes to flourish. Despite the collaborative efforts of HSI and law enforcement partners, online child sexual exploitation and abuse is growing at an alarming rate and law enforcement cannot arrest its way out of this crisis.

“Louisiana State Police is dedicated to working alongside our local, state and federal partners to rescue victims and apprehend those involved in the exploitation of children,” said Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Robert P. Hodges. “Ensuring the safety and protection of our most vulnerable population remains a priority for our agency and our state.”

The Know2Protect campaign seeks to address this challenge through education, prevention and intervention. It will rely on the expertise and authority of HSI special agents, working in concert with partners, to find online predators and bring them to justice. It will also spread awareness about these global threats, share preventive strategies to stop future victimization, empower the public to report suspected abuse and support survivors of online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

“Child abuse in any form will not be tolerated by me or my office. Our Cyber Crime Unit specializes in protecting the children of Louisiana from online exploitation. This problem of child sexual abuse carries over from the internet into our homes. The number of online child exploitation cases that our agency has received is terrifying, and that number has been exponentially increasing over the past few years. We saw an almost 100% increase in cases from 2022, when we reached a record number of a little under 11,000 cases,” said Louisiana Attorney General Liz Murrill. “It is critical that parents be involved in protecting their child’s digital footprint and monitoring their behaviors online. Just as the internet provides a child a window to the outside world, it also allows the outside world to see or access our children. If you believe your child has been a victim of online exploitation, call the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office Cyber Crime Unit at 225-326-6100 or file an online report with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.”

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free tip line at 866-347-2423, which is staffed around the clock. From outside the United States and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users may call TTY 802-872-6196.

Follow HSI New Orleans at @HSINewOrleans. To request an iGuardian presentation, email us at iGuardianHSINOLA@hsi.dhs.gov.

Last Updated: 04/22/2024
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