Operation Rescue Me/ECAP

Operation Rescue Me

On June 24, 2008, the FBI—in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Childrenbegan Operation Rescue Me, an aggressive program that uses image analysis to determine the identity of child victims depicted in child sexual exploitation material.

Focusing on items seen in the backgrounds of child pornography images and videos, analysts attempt to answer four basic questions in an effort to identify and subsequently rescue victimized children:

  1. What useful clues are there in the background? (e.g., What’s visible on the walls? Are there distinct clothes or commercial labels visible?)
  2. Can a time frame for when the pictures/videos were taken be determined?
  3. What is the physical location of the children in the photos/videos (e.g., country, state, hotel room, etc.)?
  4. Who are the children in the photos/videos?

Candidate images/videos for Operation Rescue Me arise from new child pornography series discovered by FBI field investigations, from forensic exams, or from nominations by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Endangered Child Alert Program

On February 21, 2004, the FBI began its Endangered Child Alert Program (ECAP) as a new proactive approach to identifying unknown individuals involved in the sexual abuse of children and the production of child pornography. A collaborative effort between the FBI and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, ECAP seeks national and international exposure of unknown adults (referred to as John/Jane Does) whose faces and/or distinguishing characteristics are visible in child pornography images. These faces and/or distinguishing marks (i.e. scars, moles, tattoos, etc.) are displayed on the Seeking Information section of the FBI website as well as various other media outlets in hopes that someone from the public can identify them.

As a result of ECAP, the faces of many Jane/John Does have been broadcast on television shows such as America’s Most Wanted: America Fights Back, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and The O’Reilly Factor.

To help locate current suspects, see the Endangered Child Alert Program Most Wanted webpage.

Successes

Since the inception of ECAP, 28 John/Jane Does have been investigated; 20 of these cases have been successfully resolved so far.

As of March 14, 2014, Operation Rescue Me and ECAP efforts have led to the identification of 68 child victims.

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