Trinity Mount Ministries

Showing posts with label End Child Trafficking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label End Child Trafficking. Show all posts

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Trinity Mount Ministries - FBI - SEXORTATION



Case Highlights Growing Online Crime with Devastating Real-Life Consequences

The doors were locked, the alarm system was on, and the 13-year-old girl never left her room. But a child predator was able to reach her simply because she was tricked into connecting with him online.

The link between Presley (her name has been changed to protect her identity) and someone she believed was another teenage girl named K.C. started out as a friendly exchange over a popular messaging app. They sent each other occasional messages and pictures of their outfits over a few weeks.

One mildly revealing photo from Presley, however, gave K.C.—who was actually a grown man in Florida named Justin Richard Testani—an opening to begin his threats. He said he would share the photo and spread rumors about her to friends and family if she didn’t do as he asked.

“She let her guard down,” her mother said. “She let her guard down because she thought it was another teenage girl.”

The demands and threats escalated quickly from there. According to FBI investigators, Testani told Presley he would rape and kill her and her loved ones if she didn’t perform the increasingly graphic and extreme acts he demanded over a video call.

Presley had become a victim of sextortion. With the internet allowing predators to hide their identities and easily reach thousands of young people over games and apps, it’s a crime the FBI is seeing in alarming and rising numbers.

To keep Presley from hanging up, the predator used details he’d gathered from their conversations and information she’d posted online to make his threats specific and terrifying. According to Presley’s mother, he told her, “I know where your mom works. If you don’t do what I’m telling you to do, I’ll go kill her.”

He told Presley he knew where she lived. He knew where she went to school. He knew how to get to her friends. “She was convinced it was someone who was standing right outside the door,” Presley’s mother said. “Someone who could get to her immediately.”

Presley was desperate and terrified when she finally reached her mom to ask for help.

Girl Sitting on Bench Holding Cell Phone (Stock Image)

We have several resources to help caregivers and young people understand what sextortion is, how to protect against it, and how to talk about it.

If a young person is being exploited, they are the victim of a crime and should report it. Contact your local FBI field office, call 1-800-CALL-FBI, or report it online at tips.fbi.gov.

Learn more at fbi.gov/sextortion.

Presley’s mother said her daughter called at her first opportunity to break the phone connection with the predator. Testani wanted to take over one of her social media accounts so he could use it to contact her friends, giving him the ability to deceive and exploit another group of young girls. But as he took over her existing account, he needed her to create a new one for herself so they would still be connected online.

As she was carrying out that demand, Presley had a chance to call for help. “He told her she had two minutes to get it done,” her mother said. “When they broke that connection, she felt she could call me.”

Presley’s mother and stepfather raced home. And although they were confused about what was happening, they couldn’t mistake the terror in Presley’s voice. Her stepfather reached her first and immediately called the police when he saw what was happening on her phone.

Presley’s bravery in reporting helped investigators find the man who terrorized her. Testani pleaded guilty to child sexual exploitation in February and was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on August 6, 2020.

Special Agent Kevin Kaufman, who investigated the case for the FBI in Tampa with local law enforcement, said that they identified several other victims across the country—some as young as 10 years old.

The investigation showed that Testani obtained the login information for other victims’ social media accounts, which allowed him to message hundreds of other young people.

The length of Testani’s sentence reflects the number of children he hurt, the extreme nature of his crimes, and the devastating effects this type of sexual violence has on its victims. Presley’s mother said her daughter is still dealing with depression and anxiety, has trouble concentrating in school, and experiences panic attacks.

The fact that Presley never met Testani in person and never even saw his face only amplified her fear. This man who hurt her could be anyone, anywhere. “That’s why she went from a social butterfly to absolutely terrified to leave the house,” her mother said.


Square logo image for the Inside the FBI podcast
Audio Player
00:00
00:00

On this episode of Inside the FBI, we're warning kids, teens, and caregivers about an increasingly common online threat called sextortion. Listen


The New Stranger Danger

Kaufman stressed that this case and the many he sees like it are a reminder to children, teens, and those who love and care for them to rethink dated assumptions about where children are safe and at risk.

“Parents—and kids, too—think that if they are home, they are in their safe haven,” Kaufman said. “But these are professional online predators who have perfected their craft. You’re putting them up against 11-, 12-, 13-year-old children. I have seen victims who were straight-A students. I’ve seen victims who were adults, for that matter.”

Presley’s mother hopes that parents and caregivers shift the conversations they’re having with their children. “We teach our children from the time they are old enough to walk about stranger danger,” she said. “We teach them what to do if someone says something to you or touches you in the wrong way, but we don’t teach them about stranger danger online.”

She wants kids and parents both to understand that sextortion can happen so they can recognize it as a crime and can act. Many parents don’t know enough about the current online environment and what their children may be doing.

Kaufman agrees. “Know what these applications can do,” he said. Parents may not know that a texting app also allows their child to video chat with multiple people at once or that their children are getting friend requests from strangers and accepting them without a second thought. “People can portray themselves to be anyone online,” Presley’s mom said. “Know that you know who you’re talking to.”

“We teach our children from the time they are old enough to walk about stranger danger. We teach them what to do if someone says something to you or touches you in the wrong way, but we don’t teach them about stranger danger online.”

Mother of sextortion victim

Additionally, Kaufman warns that many people aren’t aware of easy-to-download applications that let someone record anything online, even without the other person knowing. Any so-called private or “disappearing” interaction can be saved and shared.

Presley’s case, with the perpetrator’s pattern of taking over his victims’ accounts, shows that even if a message is from a friend’s account, there can still be a risk. The best protection against that uncertainty is to avoid doing anything in front of a screen that you wouldn’t be comfortable doing in real life.

“I fear the belief some people—especially kids—have that if it happens behind a screen, it’s not real,” Presley’s mom said. Her family’s experience shows the risks are real, and the possibility of long-term harm is, too.

So what’s the most important thing parents and caregivers can do? Presley herself says that it’s to be available if your kids need help. If your child is afraid of getting in trouble for downloading a forbidden app or breaking another family rule, they may not ask for help if they become a victim of sextortion. This means they’ll suffer alone, and the predator will be free to target another victim.

And Presley also has a message for young people spending time online: “Everything is not always as it seems. It is easy for people to act like someone they are not on the internet. Don’t believe everything you are told. If you are put in one of these situations, one of the most important things to remember is that although they tell you they have all the power, you are the one in control. Don’t be afraid to speak up. You are not alone.”





Thursday, May 6, 2021

CyberTipline - NCMEC - Trinity Mount Ministries - Report Abuse! 1-800-843-5678


Overview

NCMEC’s CyberTipline is the nation’s centralized reporting system for the online exploitation of children. The public and electronic service providers can make reports of suspected online enticement of children for sexual acts, extra-familial child sexual molestation, child pornography, child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, unsolicited obscene materials sent to a child, misleading domain names, and misleading words or digital images on the internet.

What Happens to Information in a CyberTip?

NCMEC staff review each tip and work to find a potential location for the incident reported so that it may be made available to the appropriate law-enforcement agency for possible investigation. We also use the information from our CyberTipline reports to help shape our prevention and safety messages.

Is Your Image Out There?

Get Support
One of the worst things about sextortion is feeling like you’re facing everything alone. But you have people who care for you and want to help. Reach out to them!
A trusted adult can offer advice, help you report, and help you deal with other issues. It could be your mom, dad, an aunt, a school counselor, or anyone you trust and are comfortable talking to. You can also “self report” by making a report on your own to the CyberTipline.
Don’t Give Up
Having a sexual exploitative image of yourself exposed online is a scary experience. It can make you feel vulnerable and isolated, but remember, others have been in the same situation as you – and they’ve overcome it. 

Learn the steps you can take to limit the spread of the content.



Thursday, April 29, 2021

Trinity Mount Global Missing Kids - Child Trafficking: Myth vs. Fact


Trafficking, according to the United Nations, involves three main elements[ii]:
  • The act: Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons.
  • The means: Threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim.
  • The purpose: For the purpose of exploitation, which includes exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs.
There is much misinformation about what trafficking is, who is affected and what it means for a child to be trafficked. Read on to learn more about the myths vs. facts of child trafficking.
MYTH: Traffickers target victims they don’t know
FACT: A majority of the time, victims are trafficked by someone they know, such as a friend, family member or romantic partner.
MYTH: Only girls and women are victims of human trafficking
FACT: Boys and men are just as likely to be victims of human trafficking as girls and women. However, they are less likely to be identified and reported. Girls and boys are often subject to different types of trafficking, for instance, girls may be trafficked for forced marriage and sexual exploitation, while boys may be trafficked for forced labor or recruitment into armed groups.
MYTH: All human trafficking involves sex or prostitution
FACT: Human trafficking can include forced labor, domestic servitude, organ trafficking, debt bondage, recruitment of children as child soldiers, and/or sex trafficking and forced prostitution.  
MYTH: Trafficking involves traveling, transporting or moving a person across borders
FACT: Human trafficking is not the same thing as smuggling, which are two terms that are commonly confused. Trafficking does not require movement across borders. In fact, in some cases, a child could be trafficked and exploited from their own home. In the U.S., trafficking most frequently occurs at hotels, motels, truck stops and online.
MYTH: People being trafficked are physically unable to leave or held against their will
FACT: Trafficking can involve force, but people can also be trafficked through threats, coercion, or deception. People in trafficking situations  can be controlled through drug addiction, violent relationships, manipulation, lack of financial independence, or  isolation from family or friends, in addition to physical restraint or harm.
MYTH: Trafficking primarily occurs in developing countries
FACT: Trafficking occurs all over the world, though the most common forms of trafficking can differ by country.  The United States is one of the most active sex trafficking countries in the world, where exploitation of trafficking victims occurs in cities, suburban and rural areas. Labor trafficking occurs in the U.S., but at lower rates than most developing countries.
If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-800-373-7888. The confidential hotline is open 24 hours a day, every day, and helps identify, protect and serve victims of trafficking.
Sources:
[i] Give Her a Choice: Building A Better Future For Girls (Save the Children) 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Please Help Us Make This World A Safer Place For Our Kids - Trinity Mount Ministries

Thank You!


Help Find Missing Children. Let's Put An End To Child Abuse And Exploitation... Care. ❤🙏


Please help us further our cause with a donation of any amount to help cover the daily expenses of Trinity Mount Ministries and Trinity Mount Global Missing Kids.  Thank you!

Brett Fletcher MHRS, MS.Psy, Th.G – Founder of Trinity Mount Ministries & Trinity Mount Global Missing Kids

Please Visit Our New Website! https://www.TrinityMount.Info 
Trinity Mount Ministries - https://www.TrinityMountMinistries.com
Trinity Mount Global Missing Kids - https://www.trinitymountministries.com/2021/04/trinity-mount-global-missing-kids_30.html?m=1







Saturday, August 8, 2020

Trinity Mount Ministries - How the FBI tracks down child pornography predators







Millions of images of sexually abused children are traded with like-minded predators all over the U.S. and beyond. Special correspondent John Ferrugia of Rocky Mountain PBS tells the story of one family who was victimized, and one FBI team that tracks down abusers.

Read the Full Transcript

Judy Woodruff:

It is a disturbing issue, but one that is growing, the production of millions of pornographic images of children being sexually abused.

They are uploaded from cell phones, Webcams, and computers.

John Ferrugia of Rocky Mountain PBS has the story of one family who was a victim and explores what you can do to protect your children.

Beth:

There was a card on our front door from the FBI, and, immediately, our hearts sank. We thought, why is the FBI contacting us?

John Ferrugia:

Seven years ago, Beth and her husband couldn't imagine what the FBI wanted, but they agreed to meet.

Beth:

They said, we believe your son has been a victim of a crime. And I said. Impossible. My son is at home. And he showed me the photos, and immediately I just broke down. My husband broke down crying.

John Ferrugia:

What she saw was her then 4-year-old son being sexually abused, the acts documented in still images and video, and uploaded to the Internet. It had been going on for two years.

Beth:

And they asked us if we knew who the person was and where he could be located, and…

John Ferrugia:

And did you?

Beth:

I did. He actually was a family friend that we had known for a long time, almost my whole life.

Tina Fourkas:

It's your neighbor, it's your pastor, it's your teacher, it's your soccer coach. We have had all of those types of people, people with kids, people without kids.

John Ferrugia:

FBI Special Agent Tina Fourkas has been investigating Internet child pornography in the Denver field office for more than seven years.

Tina Fourkas:

I wish there was some magic profile where we could identify these people, but there's not.

John Ferrugia:

It was Fourkas, along with agents in Illinois, Missouri, Arizona, and Colorado, who were able to identify son. Through their investigation, they discovered he had been a victim in a multistate child porn ring, and the agents tracked down those who had sexually abused him for years.

Beth:

My son was going to my dad's house. My dad also had some people that were helping him out and providing care and resources at his House.

John Ferrugia:

So he had no idea?

Beth:

He had absolutely no idea.

John Ferrugia:

The men, one married with two children and the other single, who had access to Beth's son, were arrested and convicted.

The break in the case came with the arrest of this man, Richard Franklin. He is a 50-year-old military veteran who lived in this quiet Denver neighborhood with his parents, who knew nothing about their son's criminal obsession.

Tina Fourkas:

You take a quick walk around the house, and you immediately know usually who your subject is, because it's the bedroom with all the computers and all the keyboards.

John Ferrugia:

FBI photos from their search of the house show how Franklin closeted himself with his computers, where he could view images he collected of children being sexually abused.

Tina Fourkas:

He had hundreds of thousands of images and videos of child pornography.

John Ferrugia:

Hundreds of thousands?

Tina Fourkas:

Yes, hundreds of thousands.

John Ferrugia:

Franklin's images of sexually abused children, stored on hard drives, were being traded with like-minded predators all over the U.S. and beyond. Franklin was advertising for child porn, receiving images, including those of Beth's son, and trading images from his collection.

Franklin was convicted and sentenced to 100 years in federal prison. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, known as NCMEC, works with federal, state, and local law enforcement to identify children in photos who are being sexually abused.

Here is how it works: Internet service providers like Google, Yahoo, and others monitor the billions of uploads and downloads of material with algorithms that search for possible child pornography. When it is detected, the providers review them and contact NCMEC, sending a sample image, as well as information about the Web server and address. It is then passed along to the FBI for possible investigation.

Calvin Shivers:

We're able to run those images against known images that NCMEC has, and that may play a part in victim identification.

John Ferrugia:

Calvin Shivers is the special agent in charge of the FBI office in Denver. He previously headed the Violent Crimes Against Children section at FBI headquarters.

He says, in Colorado, about 50 percent of child porn cases investigated are derived from tips from Internet providers through the nonprofit.

Calvin Shivers:

A lot of times, when you just get a general tip, there may not be enough information. But NCMEC, because of the experience staff, they're able to in some instances call additional information that may help the investigation.

John Ferrugia:

The number of tips compiled by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has exploded in recent years. In 2010, there were more than 213,000 tips involving child pornography. In 2017, the number of tips was more than 10 million.

Judy Smith:

The number of cases that are happening, it's an avalanche. I mean, we just feel like we're dishing the ocean out with a spoon.

John Ferrugia:

Judy Smith is chief of the cyber-crime and national security section of the U.S. attorney's office in Denver.

Judy Smith:

Nobody wants to know that this dark side of humanity exists, and not just exists, but the scope of it.

John Ferrugia:

Judy Smith says another growing concern involves increasingly younger kids carrying smartphones.

Judy Smith:

They can take pictures of themselves, and they can send those to their friends or somebody who they think are friends. There's online predators out there who pose as young boys or girls, who then entice or ask kids to self-produce child pornography.

John Ferrugia:

And FBI Special Agent Tina Fourkas says, once just one photo is sent by an unsuspecting child or teen to a predator posing online as another kid, as illustrated in this NCMEC training video.

Tina Fourkas:

They can be blackmailed, or they're too embarrassed to say anything, so they continue to send pictures.

John Ferrugia:

To emphasize the point, Fourkas noted that while we were conversing on an upper floor of the FBI building in Denver-

Tina Fourkas:

People are actively posting child pornography on one of my undercover computers downstairs. There's a little girl on that site, you can tell she's self-producing. I mean, she's holding the cell phone out. She's nude. She's maybe 10, 11 years old.

John Ferrugia:

You're seeing this?

Tina Fourkas:

And we're seeing this live on this site. Why is she taking pictures of herself? Where are her parents?

Calvin Shivers:

You know, parents should be cognizant of what their children are doing on the Internet and on their smartphones just across the board.

John Ferrugia:

And FBI Special Agent in Charge Calvin Shivers says it goes beyond monitoring.

Calvin Shivers:

Parents should also make sure that there's a good avenue for their children to communicate and, if they had that conversation, that the children know that they can come to them.

To your point, a lot of the victims don't feel that they can talk to their parents. And that causes them to be revictimized over and over again.

John Ferrugia:

For Beth's son and for her family, ongoing therapy has brought them beyond trauma to hope.

How does how does your son see his future?

Beth:

Oh, just very positive. He's also going to have this story to go with it, that, you know, I dealt with this as a child, and, look, here I am, and you can get through it too.

John Ferrugia:

Beth and her family say they hope public discussion of this horrific crime will bring public awareness and reduce the stigma for victims whose childhood photos often remain accessible on the Web, and that it will help victims and their families heal.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Ferrugia in Denver.





Saturday, November 23, 2019

Trinity Mount Ministries - DOJ - PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD - Justice News - UPDATE - 12/13/2019

PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD

Project Safe Childhood
Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by the U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

JUSTICE NEWS

RESOURCES

Read the Project Safe Childhood Fact Sheet »

PSC Fact Sheets

Featured Videos