Wisconsin ICAC Task Force Conference on Missing and Exploited Children Highlights Increase in Sextortion Cases

Apr 16 2024

APPLETON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force today kicked off the 5th annual ICAC Conference on Missing and Exploited Children in Appleton, Wis. The conference provides nationwide training to ICAC Task Force members and affiliate agencies, as well as multi-disciplinary team members and other child-serving professionals from around the country. The goal of the conference is to expand the efforts, knowledge base and further enhance skills by providing highly specialized training focused on investigating and prosecuting technology-facilitated crimes against children.


“There’s no greater responsibility we have than keeping our kids safe,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “Thank you to those participating in this conference and to all of the more than 300 Wisconsin ICAC Task Force affiliate agencies for your commitment to combating internet crimes against children.”


This year’s conference highlights the act of sextortion, which is a form of child sexual exploitation where children are threatened or blackmailed, most often with the possibility of sharing with the public a nude or sexual image of them, by a person who demands additional sexual content, sexual activity, or money from the child. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), in 2023, their CyberTipline received 186,819 reports of online enticement, which is the category that includes sextortion. NCMEC has seen a dramatic increase in financial sextortion where the offender demands money of the child. Teenage boys have been the most common targets in these recent cases. A majority of the suspects in these cases are located in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and the Philippines. If you or someone you know has information on potential child exploitation, you can report it to NCMEC online at https://report.cybertip.org/ or by calling 1-800-843-5678.


The conference will include breakout sessions ranging in topics from basic investigations and case studies to advanced proactive investigative techniques.  The conference will also include sessions that are dedicated to missing and abducted children. Over 300 attendees from all over the country, and even some from abroad, are expected to attend the two-and-a-half-day conference put on by the Wisconsin ICAC Task Force. Most attendees are from Wisconsin ICAC Affiliate agencies or partners.


The conference is made possible by Alicia’s Law, which was authored by Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) and signed into law in 2016, and provides funding for internet crimes against children investigations, training, technology and supports DOJ’s electronic storage detection canine program. Alicia’s Law is named after Alicia Kozakiewicz, a survivor of a brutal abduction by an Internet predator and held hostage and tortured in the predator’s Virginia basement at the age of 13.


About the Wisconsin ICAC Task Force

The ICAC Task Force offers a variety of services including, investigation and prosecution of offenders of internet crime, investigative and prosecutorial assistance for police agencies and prosecutors, victim services, training for law enforcement officers and prosecutors, and coordination of internet safety education for parents, teachers and community members. Visit the ICAC Task Force page for internet safety tips for parents and caregivers here.