ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — More than 100 skilled investigators from around the world worked together in a multinational child rescue operation beginning in September 2020 — the focus was on difficult and high-value cases involving missing, exploited, and trafficked children.
The National Child Protection Task Force (NCPTF), Trace Labs, and the UK’s National Crime Agency organized the operation with investigators from countries that included the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Technical support was also provided by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Fayetteville-based NCPTF Founder Kevin Metcalf said collaborating with other countries was important, “most of them don’t have data and tools that we do. We also had corporations available for legal process response if needed.”
The investigating agencies had support from the following companies:
- Shadow Dragon
- Dark Owl
- Fog Data Science
Due to the high level of confidentially and ongoing investigations regarding the cases, many details cannot be released. But, what can be shared is that at least four high-value targets were identified — child predators who were producing and distributing child sexual abuse material, which led to the identification of members of their networks as well as the recovery of several child victims — and important leads, in difficult cases, were developed and are currently being worked.
We imagine a world where children wake up and experience childhood, feel safe wherever they are, and end each day looking forward to tomorrow. We will not stop until this is a reality for every child.
The National Child Protection Task Force was founded to bring together talented minds that could provide investigative expertise and resources that are unavailable or under-funded in most law enforcement organizations.
The members of our Task Force volunteer their time to any agency — small or large, international or local — on cases involving missing, exploited, or trafficked children.
ABOUT TRACE LABS
Trace Labs is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of crowdsourcing intelligence to generate new leads on missing person cases to assist law enforcement.
The missing person issue is worsening, requiring modern and scalable solutions at various levels to help mitigate risk to society. To solve this problem, Trace Labs built their “Search Party” platform to enable the collection and processing of OSINT (open-source intelligence) at scalable levels through virtual operations and events known as OSINT Search Parties. This has evolved the concept of a typical search party where community volunteers are on the ground helping law enforcement look for missing people and have taken it online so that anyone around the world can help using their cyber skills.
The National Crime Agency leads the UK’s fight to cut serious and organized crime, protecting the public by targeting and pursuing those criminals who pose the greatest risk to the UK.