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Posted in In the News, Partners
March 22nd, 2018

First South American Forensic Computer Lab Dedicated to Fighting Child Exploitation Opens with O.U.R. Support

Yuliana Martinez-Samboni was honored during the grand opening of the Laboratorio Forense De Cibercrimen Infantil “Yuliana Samboni” in Bogota, Colombia.

Image source: noticiasya.com

Yuliana was just seven years old at the time of her kidnapping from a park in front of her family home. Even though her family saw the kidnapper and was able to give the police a description of the attacker and his car, and the license plate was caught on camera near the abduction, the police were unable to get to her in time to save her. After the suspect’s doorman saw him with a child who was kicking and screaming, he assumed that the child was an unruly niece or nephew and did not stop the suspect. After later learning that the child he saw was the one found raped, murdered and hidden by the suspect, the doorman took his own life. Both Yuliana and the doorman’s life could have been saved by an Amber Alert system.

Image source: teleamazonas.com
Image source: efe.com

The government of Colombia recognized this need as did the U.S. Embassy and in addition to implementing an Amber Alert-style system to be named after Yuliana, they also dedicated a state-of-the-art computer lab in her name. This laboratory is the first of its kind in South America and brings together Homeland Security Investigations and their team of Colombian National Police.

 

This group of four investigators and two forensic examiners are tasked with the country’s child trafficking and exploitation crimes. The team has been trained at the U.S. Federal Law Enforcement Training Center as well as by Cellebrite, Axiom Forensics, Facebook, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and U.S. law enforcement in online investigations and digital evidence.

Operation Underground Railroad is proud to have supplemented the work and training already in place with three training courses as well as the addition of a top-of-the-line forensic workstation from Sumuri.

This forensic computer will allow the team to image, analyze and report any electronic devices which are suspected of containing sexually explicit materials depicting children within the short time frame allowed by Colombian law.

The two-part training on Basic Online Investigations and Digital Evidence brought in by O.U.R. gave the team a plethora of tools and techniques used by U.S. law enforcement. Under the third training on the development and use of online undercover personas in child trafficking and exploitation investigations, the team was able to utilize all of the education that they had received in a hands-on environment.

Twitter Handles:

Immigrations Customs: @dhs_ice

US Embassy Bogota: @USEmbassyBogota

ICE: @ICEgov


What can YOU Do?

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Healthcare professionals are in a unique position to recognize victims of child trafficking.  Some signs may include someone else speaking for them, inappropriate dress for the weather, suspicious tattoos or branding, and/or physical or sexual abuse. Read our latest blog post, Signs of Trafficking: A Healthcare Professional’s Guide HERE.

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