Locally, investigators often receive calls about missing people who may have been kidnapped. The victims can range in age and gender. WJBF News Channel Six's Dee Griffin talks with an investigator about who's watching your kids.
The rescue of three women and a child in Cleveland, Ohio have raised questions but yielded few answers over how they could be missing in a busy neighborhood. They were presumed dead among the living. But, the case also raises awareness about the problem of human trafficking and abduction right under our noses. “I believe in Georgia it's estimated roughly from what I've read between three and five hundred children are commercially sexually exploited in Georgia each month,” explains Special Agent Charles Kicklighter of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The problem is so big, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has taken the lead statewide in offering special training to locate victims. Agent Kicklighter says, “you might come up on that girl and if you've had the training and know what to ask and what to look for, you know, spending 30 minutes with her on the side of the road could lead to her being saved.” He says it's a problem that doesn't discriminate based on gender or race. “This day and time it's everyone. It's not just one class of people, one race of people. It's all boundaries all lines are crossed.”
Now, technology has given predators a new weapon in their fight to gain victims. Seemingly innocent pictures of children and teens posted on social media sites can be enticing objects of lust for sexual predators. “Somebody will see that and save it then the next thing you know they're trading it online and once it's out there it's out there,” Agent Kicklighter says.
Just as an attentive neighbor saved lives in Ohio, an attentive parent here at home can stop a predator before he or she starts. “If your child is approached online by a predator or somebody trying to solicit pictures or videos, if you have a rapport with your child and they trust you, that's what you need for communication,” explains Agent Kicklighter.
It's important to be aware of pictures you post on social media web sites. People posing as “friends” online, may turn out to be enemies.