HSAC Recommendations to Combat Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

In November of 2023, DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas tasked the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) to form a subcommittee and develop a strategic report regarding combatting child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA). In June of 2024, the Subcommittee’s final report revealed the following key findings:

There is overlapping federal jurisdiction on combatting CSEA which can create confusion and inefficiencies.

There is a severe strain on the frontline investigative workforce from repeated and sustained exposure to CSEA.” 

There are limited incentives to technology companies to continue keeping their platforms safe.” 

There is a need for additional allies in the fight against CSEA.

Stemming from those key findings, the following six (simplified) recommendations are made in the final report:

  1. Establish an office within DHS to lead Departmental efforts to counter online CSEA.
  2. Leverage existing tools to develop and advocate for policy solutions.
  3. Increase participation in the combatting of CSEA by the major platform vendors.
  4. Prioritize trauma and workplace well-being support for frontline staff who encounter CSEA material in their work.
  5. Bolster and sustain DHS external engagement for the Know2Protect Campaign by expanding resources and outreach with the Department of Education (ED).
  6. Lead engagement with economic and regulatory federal partners to increase the interdepartmental efforts against CSEA.

According to DHS, Secretary Mayorkas also tasked the Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council (HSAPC) and the Faith Based Security Advisory Council (FBSAC) “to examine the Department’s efforts to combat these crimes and provide recommendations on how to advance this important work to keep kids safe.”

A related report recently released by the HSAPC is also available in the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL):

For further resources, check out HSDL’s In-Focus topic on Human Trafficking or explore other reports in the library related to child exploitation.

Note: you may need to login to the HSDL to view some resources mentioned in the blog.

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