The FBI and the United States Justice Department announced that a Californian man had been jailed for 18 years for operating a website that targeted minors as young as eight to produce pornography. The man was also fined $15,215 as restitution and will be supervised for 15 years after his release. Jeffery Van (46) pleaded guilty before a judge in the Eastern District of Virginia on March 10th.

How Van committed his crimes

According to Jeffery's confessions, he created false profiles on social websites popular with children and pretended to be a young teenager.

He used the fake social profiles to lure victims to two websites he and others controlled. Once the victims were on his site, Jeffery showed them pre-recorded clips of other victims he had recorded engaging in sexual acts. He did this to ensure that his new victims thought they were chatting with another minor their age. He recorded his victims using their web cameras without their knowledge and streamed the recordings for others to view -- he also made the videos available for download. His arrest was made possible with the help of the Project Safe Childhood initiative.

Project Safe Childhood

Project safe childhood is a program from the U.S Justice Department which was launched in the year 2016.

Its main aim is to combat child exploitation using technology. In the year 2014, the U.S attorney's office received 3,248 indictments against 3,422 defendants for crimes involving the Sexual Exploitation of minors; this was an increase of 31 percent from the year 2010. The initiative mainly deals with crimes such as production, possession, and distribution of child pornography.

It also deals with direct physical/sexual exploitation of minors.

Recent child pornography arrests

On the 7th of this month, two roommates from Iowa were arrested after a member of the public informed the police that someone was using social media to distribute images of child pornography.

The roommates were aged 42 and 31.

On the 5th of this month, a juvenile guard was arrested for sharing pornographic images of children using the internet. The guard was accused of sharing pictures and videos using an app with a Canadian citizen. The images showed young girls engaging in sexual activities with adult men and women.

On the 6th of this month, another man from Albany, New York was found to be in possession of images and videos that showed children engaging in sex. The 53-year-old man confessed to investigators that he has been in contact with several hundred minors countrywide since the 1990s.