GREEN BAY, Wis. – Law enforcement and prosecutors from across Wisconsin and the Midwest attended the 2018 Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Conference in Green Bay today to receive highly specialized training focused on investigating and prosecuting technology-facilitated crimes against children by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ).
“I spent a large part of my nearly 30-year law enforcement career prosecuting sensitive crimes against children, and I swore to continue protecting Wisconsin’s children when I became Attorney General,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “This DOJ training, and the work accomplished because of Alicia’s Law, is guaranteeing that Wisconsin families can feel more comfortable having their children use the Internet.”
Nearly 175 law enforcement and prosecutors attending the training, which featured a training on investigative tactics regarding the latest in internet crime trends, including Internet of Things and Cloud data, social media, the dark web, sexting, and virtual currency. DOJ and national experts provided the high-tech training.
Also attending the conference was Alicia Kozakiewicz – the survivor of a brutal abduction by an Internet predator and was held hostage and tortured in the predator’s Virginia basement at the age of 13 – an advocate for Internet and child safety awareness. Kozakiewicz is the namesake of “Alicia’s Law,” which was passed and signed into law in Wisconsin in 2016. Alicia’s Law provides additional funding to the Wisconsin ICAC Task Force and created an administrative subpoena process that expedites the procedure for finding the location of suspected internet sex predators.
“Alicia’s Law is probably the single-most effective law enforcement tool passed in the several decades,” said Senator Van Wanggaard of Racine, the lead legislative author of Alicia’s Law. “Thanks to this law and the efforts of the ICAC investigators, we’ve arrested over 1,000 sexual predators in just two years. Children are being saved, and bad guys are being put away.”
“How incredible that so effective a piece of legislation was born from such a horrendous experience; that by our working together, my namesake, Alicia’s Law, has provided law enforcement the tools necessary to prevent further predatory crimes against other children,” said Alicia Kozakiewicz.
In 2017, the Wisconsin ICAC Task Force received more than 1,700 cybertips; inspected more than 415,000 gigabytes of seized data on hard drives, cellphones, and other data storage devices; and arrested 537 people who were suspected of conducting internet crimes against children including child enticement, obscenity directed to minors, child prostitution, and manufacture, distribution, and possession of child pornography.
In the first quarter of 2018, the Wisconsin ICAC Task Force has reported 119 arrests, over 200 search warrants executed, over 250 subpoenas obtained, over 130 terabytes of data examined, and 495 cyber tips received.
The ability to investigate so many cases in recent years would not have been possible without Alicia’s Law. In 2015, before the law was passed, the Wisconsin ICAC Task Force arrested 291 suspected predators and executed 459 search warrants.
ICAC also provides online safety training for parents, teachers, and communities through educational programming and the Protect Kids Online Podcast. Since 2015, ICAC teams have given nearly 2,000 educational presentations statewide.
The Wisconsin ICAC Task Force was launched in 1998 to help federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies protect kids online by investigating individuals who use the internet, online communications, or computer technology to exploit children. The Wisconsin ICAC Task Force is comprised of DOJ personnel, as well as police and sheriff’s departments from around the state (full list of Wisconsin ICAC affiliates can be seen here). In August 2017, the ICAC Task Force at DOJ merged with the DOJ Human Trafficking Bureau, allowing for a more efficient flow of critical investigative information as the these units often overlap with human trafficking investigations.
For more information on ICAC and how to protect children online, go to: www.ProtectKidsOnlineWI.gov.