The exploitation of young girls by adult men and women in the United States has reached new heights in recent years.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the Justice Department will launch a criminal investigation into the exploitation of teens by underage pornographic actors and producers.
According to the press release, “We are outraged by the abuse of our youth by young people who are exploited in the pornography industry.”
“The abuse of these young people is a betrayal of the trust they have placed in their peers and a betrayal that can only be overcome by the help of the law,” Lynch said in a statement.
“We will continue to aggressively prosecute individuals who abuse their power, and we will hold those who engage in these crimes accountable.
We will use every tool at our disposal to prosecute and punish those who abuse children and young people.”
Lynch’s announcement comes days after the DOJ announced a $25 million settlement with several websites that had been accused of hosting underage pornography.
The settlements will include $5 million to pay $10 million in penalties, $15 million to settle the charges, and another $15 to settle an investigation into websites that sold child pornography and other material.
Lynch has been under pressure to act on this issue, after she was asked to expand the investigation into child porn.
The announcement came a day after the White House asked the Attorney General to expand an investigation of online child pornography to include “viral and predatory online predators” as part of a “pipeline to zero tolerance.”
Lynn has previously said that she will not hesitate to pursue criminal charges against those responsible for online child exploitation.
In December, she said, “I have zero tolerance for predators of any kind, whether they be on the Internet or in real life.”