MILWAUKEE -- An FBI operation dubbed Operation Kick Boxer has led investigators to identify and arrest distributors and manufacturers of child sexual abuse materials -- and to recover child victims of sexual abuse.
Officials indicated in a news release on Monday, July 6 that the operation has resulted in dozens of arrests across the country, as well as in other countries including Canada, United Kingdom, Romania, and France. The operation has also located and recovered 18 children from being sexually exploited.
Operation Kick Boxer relied on more than 63 law enforcement agencies working on FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Forces in each of the Bureau’s 56 field offices and via the FBI's Legal Attaché Offices throughout the world. The sweep included undercover operations and led to the opening of over five dozen federal and international criminal investigations.
Agents and analysts at FBI Milwaukee worked closely with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to coordinate and de-conflict these law enforcement operations.
In all, approximately 65 suspected distributors, manufacturers and hands-on offenders have been identified by law enforcement, arrested, and/or are in the process of being formally charged.
FBI Milwaukee Special Agent in Charge Robert Hughes issued the following statement:
"The FBI is fiercely focused on recovering child victims and arresting the individuals who exploit them. Through operations like this, the FBI helps child victims escape the abusive sexual exploitation occurring in their homes by people they trust."
Winnebago County Sheriff John Matz also commented:
"We are pleased to have our federal partners working with us on this priority operation. We recognize children are the most vulnerable population we serve and protecting them will always be of greatest importance to law enforcement."