TEAM | Ambushed by images: an investigation into child sexual abuse online

Disclaimer: The details of this story may disturb some readers.

AUGUSTA, Ga (WRDW / WAGT) – A brand new I-Team investigation sheds light on how disturbing photos and videos once hidden on the dark web might now find their way to your phone. It all started when a News 12 viewer saw someone selling child pornography on social media. What happened next could be a lesson for all of us.

This investigation is also a call to action because we can now arm you with a simple – but powerful – tool to fight back.

Quantavia Garnett was scrolling through Snapchat when she saw “The Ad”.

“It just came out of nowhere,” she said.

It was not an advertisement. Someone added her as a friend. When she went to see who it was, she was bombarded with child pornography. She wishes she could not see everything. One user appeared to “sell” children to commit sexual acts. There were also explicit photos and links to buy videos. Quantavia reported everything to Snapchat.

“I checked him about four or five times, and he was still up there, so I left him alone. That’s when I texted you (Meredith Anderson), ”she said.

The images she sent to the I-Team were more than disturbing. We will not be able to de-see them either. When she said she didn’t know how to report them, the I-Team sent them directly to the GBI Deputy Special Agent in charge of the Cyber ​​Center, but there was a slight problem.

“It is illegal to own it, to manufacture it, to distribute it,” said Charles Kicklighter.

Technically, our I-Team accidentally broke two of these laws by reporting this to the GBI.

“So I’m an example of what not to do,” Anderson said.

“Yes,” Kicklighter said.

Here’s what the I-Team got out of it: Kicklighter generated a cyber tip for this case in the same location the I-Team might have had. Quantavia could have generated one too. You don’t need to be a law enforcement worker to click here (https://report.Cybertip.Org/) to report something like this.

“Anyone can go to this website,” Kicklighter said.

It seems a lot of people don’t report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Of the more than 16.9 million reports received in 2019, only 150,667 came from the public. It’s not even one percent. The overwhelming majority came from “electronic communications providers”. statistics show that most of them are “Facebook owned platforms”.

In 2020, the European Union law enforcement agency reported an increase in the number of people live-streaming child sexual abuse “as travel restrictions prevented offenders from physically abusing children.” .

“They have a child, and you tell him what you want him to do.” and you pay, and they’ll send you a video of them doing whatever you ask them to do to the victim. They’ll even send you the clothes, the underwear that they wore back then, ”Kicklighter said.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recorded a record 21.7 million reports of online seduction in 2020. This is a 97.5% increase from the previous year. Experts believe it was a direct result of more children using laptops, tablets and phones for school during the pandemic.

“There are still a lot of children who have not been identified and who are still being victimized every day,” Kicklighter said.

That’s why Special Agent Kicklighter says it’s essential that you speak up if you see anything wrong. Quantavia is hopeful that now that we all know where and how to report it, more people will start to come forward.

“They have to report it immediately. Don’t let it slip. Don’t let him go. Do something about it, ”she said.

Again, do not capture any frames or record any video. You don’t need to download them anywhere – and please don’t email them – even if you’re sending them to law enforcement. Kicklighter says all you need is the web address and name of the social media account and as soon as you hit “send” someone will review it immediately.

Have you ever found out what happened with the case reported by our viewer?

Yes. Investigators traced the account to the Dominican Republic and closed their PayPal account – but no arrests yet. Investigators are trying to locate the suspects and the children.

Copyright 2021 WRDW / WAGT. All rights reserved.

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