We are releasing today to the public a series of new Stop Child Abuse – Trace An Object images in an attempt to solve child sexual abuse cold cases.
All six pictures – a t-shirt, a wristband, a bag – have been cropped out of child sexual abuse footage from cases investigators have yet to solve – some of them months old, some years old – before being digitally enhanced and posted online.
Investigators are hoping that certain details in the images might serve as clues and that members of the public will recognise a detail which could down the line lead to a child being rescued from harm.
What do victim identification specialists do?
Victim identification specialists painstakingly go through images and videos frame-by-frame to identify anything that helps with the origin, location or the identity of the victim.
Some things the specialists find are quite simple, like a street sign or a news programme on a TV in the background, but others are harder as offenders are becoming more aware of what law enforcement is looking for. In some cases, investigators have exhausted all the investigative leads and that’s where your help is needed.
Europol’s victim identification specialists take your tips sent in via the Trace An Object platform and work to verify and develop them further. Sometimes, your tips lead us in a definite direction. The information is then sent to the relevant country for further investigation.
So far, the Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object has helped remove 10 children from harm and arrest 3 offenders with over 26 000 tips received.
How to report
We urge the public to have a look at the images by visiting https://www.europol.europa.eu/stopchildabuse.
If you recognise an object or any details about its origin, be it from a shop, location or a time period, please report it via the platform. You can do so securely and anonymously. No clue is too small.