There is no fight more urgent than the one to track, catch and prosecute child pornography purveyors, child offenders, child predators and those who snatch children off of the streets to do them harm. In fact, there are more stories about these vile criminals making local news today than there were a year ago. Trusted family members, friends, coaches and teachers are being caught violating children by law enforcement throughout South Florida faster thanks to new technology.
Now imagine that you are the father of three young girls and you have just spent several months learning how child offenders isolate their victims and harm them.
Meet Robert Cowan, a U.S. Army Cargo Specialist (retired) who was recruited and landed a coveted internship with Homeland Security Investigations as one of the sixteen wounded veteran H.E.RO. (Human Exploitation Rescue Operative) Corps members. To him, this is not just another job. He is driven to do everything he can to help rid the region of those who harm children. “I’m one of his solders in this war”, he exclaimed proudly.
In his own words, Robert explains how he came to the Miami Homeland Security Investigations field office and why this mission of all the missions he’s completed is the most imperative.
“It’s very important to me because I have three daughters, nieces — no nephews, we don’t have boys in our family for some reason. We’re doing this for the future of our country and the kids in the world. If you destroy their childhood, when they become adults, they’re not going to be any use to society. They’re going to be so stressed out and depressed about what happened to them that they’re just going to withdraw from society. And we don’t want that. We want our kids running around, enjoying the fruits of our labor. I’m going to work, and I’m going to work hard.”
There are many great resources available for America’s wounded veterans. One such resource is the Wounded Warrior Project’s Transition Training Academy which Robert credits for helping him learn some of the Information Technology skills he needed to find a job. It was after this training when he was approached by Captain Hampton Culp who was working with the Savannah, Georgia HSI field office to join them in the fight for children. He accepted the position and become a Computer Forensic Analyst through training provided by the National Association to Protect Children (PROTECT), Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The H.E.R.O. Corps program was developed jointly by the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, the Department of Defense and the National Association to Protect Children. The HERO Corps pilot class included veterans from all branches of service who graduated and were deployed to 11 states. Learn more about the H.E.R.O. Corps at http://protect.org/hero.