“I am extremely proud of all of the special agents, analysts, and officers whose hard work and dedication made this operation a success,” said HSI Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Kansas City area of operations R. Sean Fitzgerald. “Our joint commitment to protecting children has removed these 32 dangerous individuals from our streets and hopefully sends a clear message to others looking to harm children.”
During its initial phase, from May 17-19, HSI Wichita and the Wichita Police Department targeted adults willing to travel for the sexual exploitation of a child which resulted in the arrest of 17 individuals for crimes related to aggravated human trafficking, promoting the sale of sex, and the purchase of commercial sex acts.
From May 31-June 2, HSI Kansas City and KCCET partners continued Operation Blue Ghost in and around Independence, Clay County, and Platte County, Missouri. During this operation, HSI Kansas City, Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Platte County Sheriff’s Office, Independence Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Bourbon County Kansas Sheriff’s Office targeted adults willing to travel for the sexual exploitation of a child. During this phase, 15 additional individuals were arrested for crimes related to travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, enticement of minor, sexual trafficking of a child, furnishing pornographic material to minors, sexual exploitation of a minor, promoting prostitution, aggravated human trafficking, sex trafficking, obscenity and morals offenses, felony assault on a law enforcement officer, felony evading, felony property damage, attempted statutory sodomy, and attempted statutory rape second-degree.
One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set. HSI is recognized as a global leader in this investigative discipline and is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint, and strong government and non-government partnerships to:
- Identify and rescue child victims.
- Identify and apprehend offenders.
- Prevent transnational child sexual abuse.
- Help make the internet a safer place for children.
HSI personnel around the world work tirelessly to protect children from exploitation by predators who are involved in the production, distribution, and possession of child sexual abuse material and who travel internationally to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors. HSI employs the latest technology to collect evidence and track the activities of individuals and organized groups who sexually exploit children using the dark web, chat rooms, peer-to-peer trading, and other internet-based platforms.