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9. Protecting Children Online

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office is an active member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. In partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Safety, it provides investigative and prosecutorial assistance to state and local law enforcement jurisdictions and conducts community awareness programs across the state.

While the internet provides us with enormous benefits, cyberspace is not always a safe place. One in seven children between the ages of 10 and 17 were sexually solicited on line last year and one in thirty-three children were aggressively pursued by someone they met on line.

Some sex offenders use the privacy and anonymity of the Internet to prey on vulnerable people. Activities such as exchanging child pornography or seeking victims online are very common. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Justice reports that at any one time there are over one million pornographic images of children on-line with 200 new images posted daily. Sex offenders believe they face little risk of interdiction of their criminal activities. This heightened activity by predators searching for unsuspecting victims presents both a significant threat to the health and safety of our society and presents a formidable challenge for law enforcement.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) is a multi-jurisdictional task force that investigates and prosecutes individuals who use the Internet to exploit children. The task force includes federal, state and local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. Its mission is to safeguard children from Internet crime through a program of community education, aggressive investigation, and effective prosecution.

More information concerning the ICAC Task Force can be obtained by going to http://www.dps.state.ia.us/DCI/icac/index.shtml.