The Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) is a unit within the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Criminal Division that specializes in the prosecution of federal child sexual exploitation offenses. Among other things, CEOS is primarily responsible for the development of prosecution, policy, and legislative initiatives in those areas. CEOS’s professional staff consists of attorneys and computer forensics specialists in CEOS’s High Technology Investigative Unit dedicated to combating the sexual exploitation of children and obscenity.
Established in 1987, CEOS focuses on individuals who, in the context of child exploitation:
- possess, manufacture, produce, or traffic in child pornography;
- travel interstate or internationally to sexually abuse children, or cause children to travel interstate or internationally for that same purpose;
- use the Internet to lure children to engage in prohibited sexual conduct;
- abuse children on federal and Indian lands; or
- engage in domestic child sex trafficking.
CEOS attorneys work closely with federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors on investigations, trials, and appeals.
CEOS has taken an active role in training federal prosecutors to handle child crime cases that were once mainly handled by local jurisdictions. The Section has sponsored several training seminars for federal prosecutors on the issues of child pornography and child exploitations. These training sessions have taught prosecutors and federal law enforcement agents the mechanics of computer hardware and software, the Internet, online investigative tools and techniques, and child exploitation laws. CEOS also offers U.S. Attorneys' offices litigation support through investigative advice, computer search warrant and indictment reviews, and joint prosecution of cases.