Criminal is powered by Vocal creators. You support Marnie Grundman by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Criminal is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

Monsters under Your Child's Bed

No, Really...

Photo Credit: IDOLZA

According to the FBI, 1 in 5 children ages 10 — 17 are solicited online. Do you know 5 children?

One of these four girls was a victim of sex trafficking. The other three are sex traffickers. Can you guess which is which? If you can't how would a child be able to know the difference between a new friend and someone who means them harm? Predators are everyday-looking people, they are the 'monsters' under the bed.

The answer will be at the bottom of this article.

Did you know it can take a sexual predator less than an hour to lure a child online?

Predators use programs to search for key words to identify their prey — things like, “I hate my Mom! I can’t wait to get out of here!” Don’t believe me? 

One of these four girls was a victim of sex trafficking. The other three are sex traffickers. Can you guess which is which? If you can't how would a child be able to know the difference between a new friend and someone who means them harm? Predators are every day looking people, they are not the monsters we picture under the bed. (The answer will be at the bottom of this article.)

The victim in the photo above was 14-year-old Hope. Hope was a happy teenage. She was popular, the captain of her soccer team, a straight-A student and she loved school. Like most kids her age she was at times at odds with her mother and did what many kids do... she vented on her Facebook page “I hate my Mom! I can’t wait to get out of here!”

One of the four girls above responded in a private message, they weren’t even Facebook friends. The trafficker bonded with her, “I know how you feel, I hate my mom too.” “yea I got out, I have my own place now … you can come hang with me.” Within 45 minutes the trafficker was at Hope’s front door. Hope left with her. They went to a motel room where a pimp was waiting. They drugged Hope and locked her in a closet. She was trafficked for months until her mother finally found her.

Children 12 — 15 years old are at highest risk — 
especially girls who share their problems online.
 If Hope's profile and posts had been private where only her REAL friends could read them she would have been safe. 

According to the FBI — in EVERY case of online luring
 the child goes willingly to the meet.

Thirty percent of online victims are boys.

Fifty-two percent of children give out their personal information online (address, school, phone number etc.).



Some Children have been lured within an hour, some have taken as long as a year.
 Predators are patient and they don't give up. 
Once they have a dialogue or connection going they will continue to
 groom their victims for as long as it takes.

Twenty-five percent of children have been exposed to porn pop-ups online. Predator's use programs to identify young users and target them with these pop-ups.
For more information go to: www.humantraffickingpreventionact.com 

ONLY 33 percent of households are actively protecting they children with filtering or blocking software. 

Only 25 percent of children approached online told an adult. 

Fourteen-year-old Caitlin responded to a modeling job ad. A man posing as a photographer/modeling agent came to her house when her parents weren't home. The trafficker raped Caitlin in her home and then blackmailed her for four years. He told her he would kill her family and burn her house down. Caitlin lived at home for the four years she was trafficked. Her mother discovered what was happening when she found and read Caitlin's diary. (The advert above was an actual ad placed by a sex trafficker.) 

How many times have you walked or driven by signs like these?

These are typical ads posted by traffickers. 

Romeo/Loverboy Lure

Sextortion

Ashley was 14 when a "15" year old boy began messaging her. After months of grooming he convinced Ashley to send him ONE topless photo. He used that photo to blackmail for months until her mother put a stop to it by contacting the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The boy turned out to be 24-year-old Lucas Michael Chansler. He had 350 victims.

The FBI is still trying to identify 240 girls. 

Sex traffickers also obtain the victim's photos and sensitive information by hacking into computers/electronic devices. They send messages and emails that are enticing to children. Once a child opens the email they are able to download malware into the child's system. Miss Teen USA was unknowingly photographed through her own webcam simply because she innocently opened an email.

Photo Answers:

Photo one is Hope.

Photo two is the 22-year-old sex trafficker who lured Hope online.

Photos three and four are sex traffickers.

Do you know five children? Still think not my child? 

Now Reading
Monsters under Your Child's Bed
Read Next
Puzzled Mysteries Part 7