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Operation Broken Heart: 47 arrested in Washington in child-sex image sting

SEATTLE -- Authorities say 47 people in Washington state were arrested as part of a nationwide operation to identify and disrupt those who produce, trade and view online images and videos of children being raped and molested.

The Seattle Times reports that more than 2,300 people were arrested across the country as part of "Operation Broken Heart," the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

The Justice Department says nine of the 47 suspects arrested in Washington face federal prosecution in U.S. District Court while the rest will face charges in the state's superior courts. Twenty-four of them were arrested in Seattle.

Nine of them  face federal prosecution in U.S. District Court, according to the DOJ.

Authorities also identified 383 children who are victims of sexual abuse.

"No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. "And yet, in recent years, certain forms of modern technology have facilitated the spread of child pornography and created greater incentives for its production. We at the Department of Justice are determined to strike back against these repugnant crimes. It is shocking and very sad that in this one operation, we have arrested more than 2,300 alleged child predators and investigated some 25,200 sexual abuse complaints. Any would-be criminal should be warned: this Department will remain relentless in hunting down those who victimize our children."

The three-month operation ending in May was an effort by 61 Internet Crimes Against Children task forces in all 50 states that targeted peer-to-peer networks that facilitate the sharing of images of child-sex abuse.