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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Human trafficking: Another reason to watch your kid’s online activity (Video)
On September 14, gang leader Justin Strom, was sentenced to 40 years for his part in a sex trafficking conspiracy. And now, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is calling attention to yet another avenue for human traffickers to find victims. Focusing upon street gangs, who have realized the profitability of human trafficking, and their new tactic of social networking to find victims.
The FBI cites that this is yet another reason why parents need to keep a close eye on their kids’ involvement with social networking websites. During a three-year period ending in March 2012, members of a violent Virginia street gang used social networking sites, like Facebook and Myspace, to recruit vulnerable teenage girls to work in their commercial sex-trade business or in other words, forced prostitution.
After a multi-agency state and federal investigation, five defendants from the Virginia-based gang, pleaded guilty to various federal charges related to the sex trafficking conspiracy. The leader of the gang, Justin Strom, 27, leader of the Underground Gangster Crips (UGC), was 40 years in prison, while the sentences handed down for the other four defendants totaled 53 years. The Crips originated in Los Angeles in the late 1960s and since then, the gang has splintered into various groups around the country. Law enforcement has seen a number of Crips sets in the U.S. engaging in sex trafficking as a means of making money.
That’s certainly what was happening in Virginia. Strom and his UGC associates would troll social networking sites, looking for attractive young girls. After identifying a potential victim, they would contact her online using fake identities. Then in typical predatory fashion, they would compliment her on her looks, ask to get to know her better, and offer the victim an opportunity to make money from her looks. If the victim expressed interest, Strom or one of his associates would ask for her cell phone number to contact her offline and make plans to meet.
If you’re wondering how a girl, your own daughter perhaps, can fall for flattery from a low-life gang member, keep in mind that even the “devil” can be charming. In the case of Strom and his associates, they lured their victims to meet them in parson and often plied them will alcohol. Thereafter, the victims had to perform a mandatory sexual “tryout” or another words they were raped. After the mental, physical and sexual abuse it wasn’t too difficult to “convince” the victims into engaging in commercial sex. Some of the juvenile victims were threatened with violence if they didn’t perform as directed and many were given drugs or alcohol to keep them sedated and compliant.
According to the FBI, Strom and his associates did not discriminate against their victims. The FBI found that Strom’s victims were from every socio-economic background and ethnicity. This case is far from exceptional. Although gangs still hustle drugs, human trafficking is a far more lucrative business. Whereas you can sell a kilo of coke one time, a girl can be sold over, and over, and over. If you’re afraid for your child, you should be. Human trafficking is the second most profitable organized criminal activity in the world. For information on how to keep your kids safe online and offline please click HERE for tips from the FBI.
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