An international police operation into child pornography led to the arrest of 245 people and the rescues of 123 children, mostly in the US, the US immigration enforcement agency announced Thursday. John Morton, director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, said 23 of the suspects were arrested in six more countries, though declined to specify them. "I can't, for very sensitive operational reasons, identify the countries involved," he said.
Thirteen of the children were rescued outside the United States during Operation Sunflower -- a five-week operation from November 1 to December 7 aimed at identifying people who own, trade or produce child pornography. Among the children, 45 were under 12 years old, including five less than three years old. There were 70 girls and 53 boys, Morton noted, adding that 23 of the children have since reached the age of majority. Operation Sunflower was named in honor of the one-year anniversary of an investigation that started when Danish police found Internet postings by a sixteen-year-old boy about his plans to rape an 11-year-old girl.
Thanks to a photo posted online showing a highway sign with a sunflower, investigators were able to find the house of the boy in Kansas and rescue the girl. ICE works in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which is now asking the public to help identify two adult suspects, shown molesting a young girl in a photograph taken 11 years ago. In 2012, a record 1,655 people suspected of sexually abusing children were arrested by the immigration enforcement agency, and 292 victims were identified and rescued.
Source: Yahoo news