Yesterday I was in a meeting with one of the detectives responsible for the arrests of 40 men this week in central Florida for attempting to buy children online. (You can read about the arrests in yesterday's post: If you buy children online, we will post your name online.)
He spoke to us about internet crimes against children. I wanted to wash in Clorox after he finished.
Here's what he told us:
- Of the 40 arrrested, only 1 was a registered sex offender.
- Two years ago in the same county where these 40 men were arrested, traffickers targeted 11 kids at a local karate school.
- Child traffickers are professional. He showed us the cover of a professionally produced booklet--a how-to guide for buying children and what to do once you have them. [Bring on the Clorox.]
- Most of the men arrested were once victims themselves of childhood sex abuse.
- Investigators use sophisticated computer programs that monitor who is trading images and videos of children online. Think Google maps, but click on the red pins and instead of all the nearby Starbucks, voila--the name, location, and IP address of everyone looking for children online. All in real time.
- Law enforcement in numerous states worked together on the 40 arrests--members of Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, a nationwide network of 3,000 federal, state, and local agencies.
- Since 2009, his local department has helped with 188 arrests in state and out of state including:
~High-level executive at a national insurance company
~Pastor of a 1,500 member church
~Father of 4, including a child who was the age of the child he was propositioning online
~Federal corrections officer
- Buyers use a complicated grooming process to lure children and teenagers via Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo, and other sites.
- Parents can minimize risk by actively and strategically monitoring their children's social network usage.
- In a few days I'll post some of the resources he shared.
If you're new to this blog, our goal at The Born2Fly Project is to reach kids before the traffickers do. We do this through an awareness and prevention program that we're testing in 5 countries. You can read more at www.born2fly.org. And you can donate to our work on that site, also.
I know this is not easy reading. Thanks for not turning away.