City of Los Angeles officials announced a campaign aimed at preventing child sexual exploitation and promoting Internet safety last week.
"As the city's chief prosecutor, I am constantly confronted with the horrific impact of child sexual abuse and the dangers of online predators," said City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo.
"In L.A. County, the number of child abuse reports has soared to more than 160,000 annually," Delgadillo said.
"And as we all know, far too many abused kids grow up to become hardened criminals. It's not just the kids who suffer. Child abuse has a devastating impact upon our society as well."
According to Delgadillo, research shows that one in five girls and one in 10 boys will be sexually victimized before they reach adulthood. Also, according to the latest research regarding online victimization, about one in 7 youths between the ages of 10-17 who go online receive a sexual solicitation or approach over the Internet. And studies showed that children who experience abuse and neglect are 59 percent more likely to be arrested as a juvenile.
Delgadillo joined with the Salesian Boys and Girls Club and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in announcing the public service campaign, which features fliers produced by the NCMEC. City prosecutors will distribute the poster-size fliers to various community organizations, libraries, community centers and schools, Delgadillo said. Delgadillo said his office wanted to convey three main messages:
— Child sexual exploitation is a major problem.
— If you suspect child abuse or child sexual exploitation, report it to law enforcement.
— And after you have reported the exploitation to law enforcement, notify the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children via its hotline, (800) 843-5678, or its Web site at www.cybertipline.com.