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Edmonton… Operation ICE Reign, an ALERT investigation focusing on child sexual exploitation offenders, has resulted in the arrest of 14 suspects from across northern Alberta.
Between June-October 2016, ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit charged 14 suspects with 33 offences related to online child sexual exploitation. ICE is an integrated unit comprised of Edmonton Police Service and RCMP members.
Operation ICE Reign was launched in response to a noted increase in child sexual exploitation offences. In the past six years the ICE unit has experienced a 75% increase in the number of new child sexual exploitation cases it investigates. ICE investigates offences involving child pornography, any computer-related child sexual abuse, child luring over the Internet, voyeurism involving victims under the age of 18, and child sex trade/tourism.
“Operation ICE Reign resulted in the seizure of thousands of photos and videos of children being abused and each one of those image represents a real-word victim. As a society we have a collective responsibility to protect children and shield them from sexual exploitation,” said ALERT Insp. Dave Dubnyk.
ALERT is also hoping to use Operation ICE Reign to raise awareness about the pervasiveness of child sexual exploitation and has partnered with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
“While the internet did not create this problem, it has created unprecedented opportunities for offenders to access, possess and distribute child sexual abuse material-as well as actively participate in the market of child sexual abuse. Today’s announcement not only underscores how significant a problem this is, but also challenges the misconceptions about who and what type of individuals participate in these crimes against children,” said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
The arrests took place between June and October. All of the accused are all men and range in age from 26 to 61 years old.
None of the accused were deemed to work in professions of trust and/or authority. There is no definitive link between the suspects other than the offences allegedly committed.
Operation ICE Reign investigators utilized information from a variety of agencies and partners during the investigation, including RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, Cybertip, Canada Border Services Agency, Interpol, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Tennessee Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and numerous RCMP detachments.