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IN ALBERTA, CHILD EXPLOITATION IS REAL.

Help us keep kids in Alberta safe

HELP US KEEP KIDS IN ALBERTA SAFE

ALERT plays a substantial and important role in the cooperative investigation and intervention of internet child exploitation performed by and affecting Albertans. ALERT’s ICE (Internet Child Exploitation) units are among the most robust and sophisticated police units in the province. 

ALERT’s ICE teams investigate a range of criminal offences involving child pornography, any computer-related child sexual abuse, child luring over the internet, voyeurism involving underage victims, and child sex trade/tourism. ICE teams also investigate sextortion involving minors.

Reporting a concern

It’s our responsibility as a society to protect children and keep them safe.

If a child or youth tells you they are being neglected, abused or sexually exploited:

  • stay calm and react without shock, disbelief, anger, judgement or fear
  • let the child tell you what happened in their own words 
  • listen carefully without asking questions
  • reassure them that it is not their fault
  • acknowledge how they are feeling (scared, angry, embarrassed, hurt, sad)

 

The Government of Alberta has more information about how you can help, as well as the steps necessary to report child abuse, neglect and child exploitation. 

Additionally, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection offers numerous resources on their website, including a free booklet with information adults need to know about child sexual abuse, the disclosure process and key prevention tips. 

If you believe a child is at risk, you must report it.

To report a concern, call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-387-5437 (KIDS).

If you or the person you are reporting is in immediate danger, call 911.

In Alberta, concerns for the safety and wellbeing of a child can be reported to Child Intervention Services at 1-800-638-0715.

Child exploitation concerns can also be reported anonymously through Crime Stoppers online or by calling at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Need Help NOW?

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection operates to assist with any internet-based sex crimes involving children. They also facilitate reporting at cybertip.ca.

If there is an immediate threat to life or crime in progress, call 911.

0
Average yearly number of forensic ICE computer exhibits seized during through investigations
(April 2018 – April 2023)
0

Child Sexual Abuse Material photos/videos processed during the course of ALERT investigations since April 2018

STRANGER DANGER – Reimagined.

Remember the man in the big white van? These days, stranger danger is online. The man (or woman) is navigating the same online platforms kids are on – the big white van is their phone, computer or gaming device. Regardless of the tactics used to interact and lure online, the individuals targeting youth are criminals. Remember – it’s never the child’s fault for being sexually exploited online.

FLAGS for kids & teens

Receive a new follower, friend, or chat request? It might not be who it looks like. Always be cautious about who you accept into your social media, gaming and chatting circle. Even if it looks like someone you know, criminal offenders can gather enough information to impersonate your friends and friends-of-friends.

If the person you are interacting with sends you nude pictures, videos or sexual content, this is a warning sign. Criminal offenders will use this tactic to incentivize you to send nude or sexual content back to them in return.

Criminal offenders may attempt to move interactions to other platforms. For instance, you could be playing a video game, or receive a new friend/follower. After interaction begins, the offender might try to get you to switch platforms to keep talking with them.

During the impersonated conversation taking place, the offender may flatter or compliment you; make you feel good. They may also make promises or offer you gifts/rewards in exchange for sexual content. ALERT has seen offenders promising video game characters/upgrades in exchange for sexual content.​

FLAGS for Parents & caregivers

Have you noticed sudden behaviour changes in your child? Open the table for discussion and check in with them to make sure they are staying safe online.

Has your child taken a sudden or unusual interest in privacy, such as staying in their room more often, hiding their device screens or spending more time privately on their phone, computer or gaming device?

Does your child have new friends online, in person or new devices? This is another flag to watch out for.

Has your child started dressing differently? This can happen when they are interacting with criminals online who seek to sexually extort them either via the internet or when using the internet as means for in person interaction.

LEARN

Learn

It's never too early to learn about the apps, platforms and games kids use. Arm yourself with knowledge on how they work, current risks, and privacy/safety options. Understanding is the first step to helping.

DISCUSS

DISCUSS

Engage with your kids and open up conversation. What platforms do they like to use? Who are they interacting with? Check in with them even if everything seems alright – criminals hide in plain sight.

TRUST

TRUST

According to Thorn[2] 1 in 3 victims of sextortion never told anyone, largely due to embarrassment or shame. Building trust with kids is a key factor to making sure they get the support they need when things go wrong.

2,994 Case Intakes in 2022-23

Intakes and case referrals have nearly tripled over a six-year period. Since last year, ICE experienced over an 8% increase, in a continued upward trend since the pandemic and continued increase in youth digital dependency. New provincial funding has allowed ALERT to address the increased pressure with the addition of investigators, forensic technicians, analysts, and disclosure clerks, along with new technologies and software applications.

ONLINE LURING

Online luring is when a person, typically adult (although not always) communicates with someone under 18 through any form of online technology in order to facilitate the commission of a sexual offence.[1]

Children in Alberta are at risk of online luring on any online platform that facilitates communication or interaction. This is especially true of platforms that allow for anonymity or allow for criminals to create fake/impersonated accounts.

Some online platforms may be widely known to parents, such as Instagram or Facebook. Other platforms may be known, but less familiar, such as Snapchat or Discord. Some of the most dangerous platforms are those which parents and caregivers aren’t familiar with in any way. The dangers of these platforms are usually unknown to children and teens when they are interacting on them. Such platforms include (but aren’t limited to) Telegram, Kick, Wickr, and other private P2P (peer-to-peer) chatrooms.

July 27 2022

Edmonton… At least six victims of child luring and sexual assault have been identified following an ALERT Internet Child Exploitation...

Read News Release

48%

Cybertip.ca luring reports involved victims 14-17 years old, the most common age for victimization.[1]

45%

Cybertip.ca luring incidents happened on Snapchat or Meta platforms (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram).[1] 

12%

Cybertip.ca luring incidents happened on Discord, a commonly-used chat room platform.[1]

KEEP UP WITH PLATFORM-SPECIFIC CONCERNS

There are so many different apps, games, and social media platforms available to children and teens that it may seem confusing to stay on top of each one. Luckily, below are resources that allow you to learn about the different platforms and issues in a focused manner which can be tailored to your child’s age or the platforms they use. Some platforms such as Meta, Snapchat, and TikTok also have their own dedicated safety centres.

IN ALBERTA, ICE IS REAL.

Think internet child exploitation is an elsewhere issue? Think again. ALERT ICE teams execute search warrants, arrest ICE offenders, and process digital forensic evidence on a weekly basis.

[1] – Canadian Centre for Child Protection. Cybertip.ca

[2] – Thorn for Parents

Copyright © 2022 Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams. All Rights Reserved.

Protecting Kids Online | Internet Child Exploitation

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

FILE INTAKES

680

872

1,149

1,114

3,815

2,994

2,764

SUSPECTS CHARGED

22

16

34

37

109

81

125

CHARGES LAID

87

45

123

160

415

351

413

CHILDREN RESCUED

26

78

56

43

203

46

100

EXHIBITS SEIZED

335

368

545

476

1,724

1,243

1,845

TOTAL PHOTOS/VIDEOS

262,400

511,133

1,374,310

606,254

2,754,097

2,551,921

13,260,819

Stopping Human Trafficking | HUMAN TRAFFICKING & COUNTER EXPLOITATION

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

SUSPECTS CHARGED

13

10

7

4

34

30

76

CHARGES LAID

79

46

87

19

231

96

157

VICTIM INTERVENTIONS

30

29

17

37

113

28

22

Intelligence & Expertise | CISA / Training

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

INTELLIGENCE REPORTS

409

296

327

442

1,474

1,560

1,318

TRAINING COURSES

5

3

8

11

27

36

25

CANDIDATES TRAINED

321

56

135

350

862

933

638

Disrupt & Dismantle Organized Crime | Combined Special Forces Enforcement

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

SUSPECTS CHARGED

40

27

42

32

141

197

168

CHARGES LAID

176

156

237

231

800

1,088

820

FIREARMS SEIZED

105

53

26

48

232

102

126

EST. VALUE OF DRUGS SEIZED

$906,814

$553,851

$2,725,161

$1,148,337

$5,334,163

$10,898,269

$334,093,020

PROCEEDS OF CRIME SEIZED

$218,133

$52,970

$130,996

$230,195

$632,294

$1,432,847

$21,740,617

ANNUAL Regional ResultS

ARRESTS

CHARGES

FIREARMS

DRUGS

PROCEEDS

CALGARY

24

110

14

$937,422

$65,881

EDMONTON

17

131

45

$592,839

$272,446

FORT MCMURRAY

8

78

4

$352,942

$144,301

GRANDE PRAIRIE

7

17

13

$192,145

$31,855

LETHBRIDGE

7

29

44

$349,773

$51,245

LLOYDMINSTER

24

93

41

$164,134

$12,504

MEDICINE HAT

37

179

13

$293,108

$7,861

RED DEER

17

163

58

$2,451,800

$46,201

TOTALS

141

800

232

$5,334,163

$632,294

Organized Property Crimes | Auto Crimes

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

SUSPECTS CHARGED

1

1

2

1

10

CHARGES LAID

11

47

STOLEN VEHICLES

23

15

1

6

45

245

118

RECOVERED ASSETS

$1,432,000

$941,025

$108,000

$260,000

$2,741025

$8,420,500

$3,919,500

Firearms investigations | Firearms lab & Gang suPpression teams

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

FIREARMS EXAMINATIONS

349

351

243

235

1,178

EXHIBIT EXAMINATIONS

1,316

1,409

891

1,099

4,715

SERIAL NUMBER RESTORATIONS

31

34

19

24

108

IBIS SUBMISSIONS

343

421

1,334

304

2,402

GUN SEIZURES

1

14

15

SUSPECTS CHARGED

4

22

26

CHARGES LAID

41

144

185

Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) involves images and/or videos that depict the sexual abuse of minors – the majority of which involve prepubescent children. Often, CSAM involves explicit and/or extreme sexual assaults against the child victim (Cybertip.ca).

Learn more about Internet Child Exploitation and ALERT’s integrated teams combatting this issue.

Ghost Guns are illegal, privately manufactured firearms or lower receivers. These weapons are often made with 3D-printers, and undermine public safety due to their lack of licensing requirements, serialization and safety controls.

Learn more about Ghost Guns on ALERT’s dedicated Privately Manufactured Firearms info page