The HERO — Human Exploitation Rescue Operative — program is designed for wounded, injured and ill veterans to receive training in sophisticated computer forensics, to join federal agents fighting against online child sexual exploitation.
Developed by Protect, in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), the veterans receive 11 weeks of intensive training and 10 months of on-the-ground experience.
They work alongside law enforcement teams executing warrants and serving as computer forensic analysts as part of a year-long unpaid internship. That means scanning computers and external hard drives on-site to determine whether the suspect possesses child pornography and, critically, whether the suspect is also producing child pornography.
During that year-long internship, HERO Corps trainees will sift through thousands of disturbing images of adults sexually assaulting children.
“You see groups of children being abused at levels the average American cannot fathom. If you imagine an infant getting gagged and bound tortured, it’s not a rare occurrence to come across,” says J. Christian, CEO of the National Association to Protect Children (Protect).
According to Christian, the U.S. is the largest producer of child pornography in the world. He also points to research showing the U.S. is home to the most commercial child porn websites.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says its Victim Identification Program, which aids law enforcement in efforts to locate and rescue child victims, has reviewed more than 158 million images and videos, since 1998.
In 2008, an ICAC Task Force network identified over 300,000 unique computers engaged in trafficking child pornography. A study by the University of New Hampshire found that 55 percent of those who possess or trade child pornography, are hands-on offenders.
Now in its third year, HERO Corps hopes to place its 100th veteran this year. Once embedded in a law enforcement agency, just one HERO can stop or prevent the exploitation of as many as 50 children per year, by providing law enforcement with the digital evidence they need to identify and locate endangered children.
Learn more about the HERO Corp program and the veterans who get involved to help save at-risk kids here:
- Injured U.S. vets now hunting child predators
- The injured army veterans being trained to take on pedophiles
- HERO Child-Rescue Corps Program
- Special Forces veterans now targeting child pornographers
Also, if you would like advice from an attorney about the rights and options for victims of child sexual abuse, please contact Crew Janci LLP today for a free, confidential consultation at 1-888-407-0224 or by using our private online form. We will treat you with discretion and respect.