(CNN) -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
is revealing the disturbing results of an international crackdown on child pornography.Operation Sunflower
kicked off on November 1 and nabbed hundreds of alleged child pornographers in just over a month.
ICE Director John Morton says the sexual abuse of young children, often at the hands of people they trust, is horribly wrong.
He says the sting investigation shows just how important it is to get these kinds of criminals off the streets.
“The results were significant, but grim. A sad reminder to us all that online child exploitation is a very real part of our lives and demands, absolutely demands, our full attention as a nation,” Morton said. “We arrested 245 people on criminal charges of child exploitation; 222 in the United States and 23 people overseas. We also identified and rescued 123 children.”
Of that number, 44 children were directly rescued from their abusers. And 79 were identified as either being exploited by others outside of their home or are now adults who were victimized as children.
Five of the victims were under the age of 3.