FBI Agents: Child Porn Cases Rising This Year

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This year the number of arrests by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Child Predator Section is reported to have increased from 9 in 2012 to 145. Mainly, this is due to the fact that the budget for such investigations has increased from $1.3 million to $4.1 million.

FBI Special Agent Gregg Frankhouser confirmed that they were very busy.

Studies show that in the US, apart from the fact that most of the offenders are white males, there is no pattern seen. Offenders belong to different social groups.

According to a study made in 2013 at the University of New Hampshire and University of Massachusetts, more than 244,000 computers in the US were connected to the file-sharing network Gnutella to spread child pornography. According to worldwide studies, there are more than 115 million images of child pornography during the last 12 years. These figures were provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

When investigating a child pornography case, there are always two sides – this of the offenders, and this of the investigators. To catch the suspect, the investigators have to find out whether or not the pictures found on a suspect's PC or stored on other devices are child pornography. Some of the scenes seen by the investigators may be really shocking.

According to the words of FBI Special Agent Tanya Evanina, the good days are when investigators help a child and catch its abuser. Then, specialists are those who are to take care of the child and the child's family.

Investigators may sometimes need to be reassigned or they may need a break, as this is a really hard work to do and it may have a really strong effect on them. “It's our responsibility to make sure they're working in a friendly environment and that they have the freedom to get up and walk away,” Sgt. Jack Kelly, commander of the state's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, commented.

It depends on the people, as some of the investigators may manage to do that for years, but others may stay only for a few months. In fact, some of the people who have been a part of these investigations later experience the so-called “vicarious trauma”. It sometimes results in physical problems, other times it leads to mental problems. The trauma may even cause problems in the relations between the investigator and the investigator's family.

One of the best ways to cope with the negative effects is to share with the colleagues. Duane Tabak, a special agent in the attorney general's Child Predator Section, said that the investigators from the team "watch over each other".

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