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Attorney General's Office arrests seven offenders during blitz to prevent child exploitation

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Posted at 8:14 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 22:14:48-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General's office reported statistics after a five day blitz was conducted in an effort to stop child exploitation in Utah.

During the initiative, 26 court orders and search warrants as well as 11 residential search warrants were served.

In total, seven arrests were made. One arrest was made in Draper, Heber, Syracuse and Tooele. Two arrests were made in both Herriman and Taylorsvile and three arrests were made in Salt Lake City.

Officials were able to identify and rescue four children during the blitz. Further details about the victims were not available.

“These arrests illustrate the extent of the problem we’re facing and are just the tip of the iceberg," said Alan White, Commander of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in a press release. “...Since the beginning of 2020, we’ve been seeing an increase in cyber-tips and more graphic and violent sexual acts committed on younger and younger victims.”

The AG's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force reports they have seen an increase of 600 percent in child exploitation tips since the beginning of 2020. They say the number of tips continues to increase in Utah and nationwide.

The report comes as the Utah Attorney General's Office lends their support to two pieces of legislation that deal with stricter penalties for sexual exploitation of a minor and protection against extortion amendments (SB167 and SB156).

The operation was conducted between January 24 and January 28.