Social media and mobile devices provide opportunities for predators to target children

KMBZ Cover Story: Tricked and Traded - The Dark World of Human Trafficking

KMBZ News Staff
July 23, 2018 - 6:17 am

Law enforcement investigators who focus on human trafficking say the factor that may make your child most vulnerable could be the device he or she uses all the time.

Mobile devices and social media are used by traffickers to lure children into dangerous situations.

The younger the child, the more valuable they are to traffickers, said Chris Wade, Kansas Justic Project executive director.

"They're being recruited online, they're being stalked through gaming, through chat rooms, websites, you name it," Wade said. "These predators are really trolling around online, that's really changed the nature of trafficking."

Predators often target boys through gaming systems, building trust over time. It is getting more and more difficult to track social media use by children, said Emily Russel, Missouri Human Trafficking Task Force director.

"It's crucial to know what apps your children are using and who they're talking to," Russel said. "As one of our task force members, Russ Tuttle, always says, if you don't know somebody, you don't know somebody."

People who witness or suspect suspicious activity can report it by calling 911 or by using a dedicated website.

 

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