Social media has had a tremendous impact on the sex industry. The internet has created the cyber street corner. People can easily approach kids on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other websites anonymously. Before these kids know what is happening, they are caught up in a life on the street having been lured by men and women they have never met.
The FBI has a number of child forensic examiners who assist in high profile cases and many of the more difficult cases due to their extensive training and experiences. [Undercover] Agents put their lives on the line each time they make a date for sex.
The MATCH (Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation Task Force) task force has grown from five police departments in 2007 to 14 organizations actively participating in the recovery of children and prosecution of subjects today. From 27 children recovered in 2011 to 45 in 2012, and 71 last year, we steadily recover more children each year. We have had nine federal convictions and many local convictions working together with our partners in the past three years alone. We are definitely making a difference in Atlanta.
Sexual exploitation of children doesn’t happen in a bubble that floats above our head and out of reach to pop. If you stay at a hotel and you see girls that have a lot of men spending 30 minutes or so in a their room or you simply notice people that just don’t look right—an older male with a much younger female—and they don’t appear to be related, don’t be afraid to say something.
Learn more at Mo Barnes’ Rolling Out article: FBI speaks: How the Internet and social media impact sex trafficking, part 3.