News Flash

MCAO Latest News

Posted on: January 18, 2021

Online Exploitation and Human Trafficking

Child Sex Trafficking Graphic

When the COVID pandemic halted almost every aspect of our life last year, human trafficking became even more prevalent. The disruption in anti-trafficking resources and awareness gave traffickers an advantage during the many months the COVID pandemic was at the forefront of our news feeds last year.

Traffickers adapted to the quarantine by shifting their focus to target potential victims online. This shift created an increase in illicit online activity, particularly human trafficking that targeted children. The Polaris Project reported a 40% increase in calls to the National Trafficking Hotline the month after stay at home orders were put in place. According to the U.N. Rights committee, the use of online traps to recruit victims, particularly women and girls, continued to increase over the last year.

As children spend more time online to complete schoolwork or stay occupied while parents work from home, they are at a greater risk of exploitation. Those who spend several hours a day online without supervision are particularly vulnerable, especially if they have no parental controls set up on their devices and can access any content online. Social media platforms and messaging apps provide easy access to potential victims and hide perpetrators' identities, so children may not realize who they are in contact with. Contact is not limited to social media sites. As many as one in five kids online are sexually propositioned through gaming platforms as well. Parents, educators, and caregivers must warn and educate children about online risks and use parental controls and device monitoring when possible.

The pandemic has also made it challenging to locate and identify victims of trafficking. As we learn more about the effects of the pandemic on human trafficking, it is of utmost importance that we look out for those most vulnerable in our communities. Everyone can play a part in helping stop human trafficking, be on the lookout for the following:

  • Children traveling with adults who are not their parents
  • Unable to speak to a child or individual alone
  • The individual appears to be coached on what to say and looks for approval before answering questions
  • Individuals who have their passport, I.D., or money held by someone else
  • People with bruises and wounds in various stages of healing

Neighbors, teachers, and first responders can report suspected human trafficking activity to their local law enforcement or federal law enforcement at 1-866-347-2423.

If you or someone you know needs support, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to 233733.

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in MCAO Latest News

Protect Your Identity

Have You Checked Your Credit Report?

Posted on: March 29, 2021
Protect Your Vehicle From Theft

Spring Break Tips: Prevent Car Theft

Posted on: March 15, 2021
Report Graffiti

Report Graffiti in Your Community

Posted on: February 22, 2021
Online Dating

Swipe Safe with These Online Dating Tips

Posted on: February 8, 2021
Woman Cleaning Counter

Labor Trafficking amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted on: January 25, 2021
MCAO Building

A Year in Review at MCAO

Posted on: December 23, 2020
Crime Scene Tape

2020 Snapshot: Crime Across the Valley

Posted on: December 7, 2020
Man placing Credit Card info into Laptop

Shop Safely Online this Holiday Season

Posted on: November 30, 2020
Female domestic violence victim packing suitcase with clothing

Make a Safety Plan to Get Out

Posted on: October 19, 2020
Teen Girl Texting

Remind Teens to Think Before They Send

Posted on: September 28, 2020
County Attorney Allister Adel

Body-Worn Camera Request

Posted on: September 23, 2020
Online Bully

Online Bullying During COVID

Posted on: September 21, 2020
Animal Cruelty

Report Animal Abuse to Law Enforcement

Posted on: September 14, 2020
Labor Day DUI Reminder

Celebrate Labor Day Weekend Safely

Posted on: September 3, 2020
Pills on table

International Overdose Awareness Day

Posted on: August 31, 2020
Contact-Tracing

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scams

Posted on: July 23, 2020
Two Girls on Laptops

What are the risks of livestreaming?

Posted on: July 13, 2020
Prosecutor

What is a Prosecutor?

Posted on: June 25, 2020
Man Vaping

Vaping Warning Signs for Parents

Posted on: June 18, 2020
Opioids

Help Prevent Opioid Abuse at Home

Posted on: June 16, 2020
Sunset Over Canal and Homes

Keep Your Home Safe this Summer

Posted on: June 4, 2020
Looking through a car windshield at night. The lights are blurred.

Don’t Graduate into a DUI

Posted on: May 19, 2020
Happy Mothers Day

Honoring MCAO Moms

Posted on: May 8, 2020
COVID-19 Stimulus Check Scams

Stimulus Check Scams

Posted on: May 7, 2020
National Law Day 2020

It’s National Law Day

Posted on: May 1, 2020
Angela Andrews

Collaboration is Key

Posted on: April 30, 2020
Inspiration in the Face of Adversity

Inspiration in the Face of Adversity

Posted on: April 24, 2020
Heather Kirka

Charging Ahead and Working Together

Posted on: April 23, 2020
Census form on flag

We All Benefit When We Respond

Posted on: April 16, 2020
Brittany Hogard

Keeping the Wheels of Justice Rolling

Posted on: April 15, 2020
Person typing on computer keyboard

Be a Smart Online User

Posted on: April 13, 2020
Avoid Coronavirus Scams

COVID-19 Scam Awareness

Posted on: March 30, 2020

Community Outreach Highlights

Posted on: March 1, 2020
Allister with Female Staff

Celebrating Women’s History Month

Posted on: March 1, 2020
2020 Census Advertisement - Shape your Future, Start Here

YOU Count: Fill Out the Census Today

Posted on: March 1, 2020

Update On Petersen Investigation

Posted on: December 11, 2019

MCAO Honors Our Veterans

Posted on: November 8, 2019

Dion Earl Found Guilty on All Charges

Posted on: August 22, 2019

MCAO Launches Community Grants Webpage

Posted on: August 12, 2016

Update on Green Acre Dog Boarding Deaths

Posted on: September 22, 2014

National Geographic - Taboo

Posted on: August 31, 2012