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62 Louisiana arrests announced in child predator crackdown

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BATON ROUGE - Louisiana officials arrested 62 people accused of child pornography and child sexual abuse, in a statewide law enforcement effort between March and May.

Attorney General Jeff Landry's office announced the arrests Wednesday at an event with federal, state and local agencies. The coordinated effort is known as Operation Broken Heart, part of a national investigative and prevention effort targeting child predators.

Arrests around Louisiana included for possession, distribution and production of child pornography and other crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children.

While the number of arrests is a success, law enforcement says they're not even close to catching all of those preying on children.

“We're up here saying we made 62 arrests through 'Operation Broken Heart', but we could have made a lot more if we had more law enforcement dedicated to this,” said Corey Bourgeois, a Commander with Internet Crimes Against Children.

Bourgeois says the child pornography activity online is only growing with the advancements in technology and the internet, and it’s taking a toll on those digging, searching and trying to put an end to the crime.

“You're looking at child abuse images all-day long. That affects you. You’re going into these houses with kids getting raped and abused daily. It’s tough,” Bourgeois said. “Mental health is a big issue right now with ICAC.”

Bourgeois says these officers are getting burnt out, blocking more suspects from being caught. But, parents can help.

Law enforcement officials encourage parents to closely monitor their children's use of websites, social media, phone apps and other technology where they can be targeted by predators.

Landry's office has posted an online pamphlet with information for parents and children about cyber safety.

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