LocalMemphisCom_Logo_Horz_5.png
63°F
Sponsored by
FIND IT FACEBOOK TWITTER

Internet Fuels Child Trafficking Crimes in the Mid-South

While selling kids for sex is getting easier due to the internet, Memphis has the highest sex trafficking conviction rate in the country, according to the local office of the FBI.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - While selling kids for sex is getting easier due to the internet, Memphis has the highest sex trafficking conviction rate in the country, according to the local office of the FBI.

Police say demand is high and so are the stakes for the victims. When one website is shut down for illegal activity dozens more pop up. Police say the internet has become the hot spot to sell underage girls for sex, moving "pimping" from the streets to a click of a mouse.

Kelley Alsobrook is trying to bring awareness to this growing problem. She was a victim of sex trafficking in her 20's.

"I've been kidnapped and so I've dealt with all of that and it's very scary. I can't even imagine the mentality of the fear of what a 12, 13, or 14 year old goes through,” she said.

She says in this technology driven world, parents need to watch their kids' every move.

“Check their emails, check what they're doing on Facebook, and check what they're doing on the internet. We are not our kids’ friends, we are their parents,” Alsobrook said.

In 2011 nearly a dozen people in Southaven, Mississippi were busted in a prostitution sting. Police found them through a website called backpage.com.

"We do view it as a major issue here. It's one of the FBI's top priorities right now,” said Memphis FBI agent Jeremy Baker, referring to child trafficking cases.

Backpage.com is a website similar to cragislist. Critics say the website's adult services promote prostitution and child trafficking. Even though the website says it monitors illegal activity, a girl can say she's of age but you can land in trouble if she's not.

"The federal statues don’t necessarily say that the subject has to know how old the person is,” Baker told abc24 news.

If you're surfing the web looking for a "good time" you may, in fact, be looking at pictures of someone who's a victim of trafficking.

"Most people think human trafficking is a third world country problem when it's right in our backyards,” said Alsobrook.

When the FBI gets involved in child trafficking cases the penalties are much higher. Criminals may be sentenced up to 50 years in prison.
Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus