Texas Wants To Close Loophole In Online Predators Law

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A Texas State Representative is pushing to close a loophole in the law designed to protect people from being victimized by predators online.

“The perpetrator uses non-physical forms of coercion such as blackmail to acquire sexual content… either photos or video of a child or an adult… to obtain money, or to engage in sex with the victim” State Representative Tony Dale said during a Monday Morning press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

“This new bill addresses a gap in law where it is currently not illegal to threaten or extort people to provide such material” Dale said, adding “If such material is published–as I said, that’s already illegal–but blackmailing people today for these purposes is not specifically illegal.”

Investigators will tell you the online anonymity provided by social media continues to be a big challenge to them in protecting potential victims from harm.

“You can be who you want to be, and unfortunately our children may start chatting with these individuals… believing they are one of their peers” said Captain Jerry Medders with the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Dale is pushing for his bill to get a hearing before a Texas House committee.

http://www.ktsa.com

Why screen names should be different


Most of us at one point, if not always have created a username or screen name for a website or program we use. Programs like Kik and others require a screen name to use. Most of us tend to get into the habit of using the same screen name over and over again for different programs and sites. Sure, it makes it easy for us to remember and for friends to find us, but could this be an issue?

According to reports and observations from CCRA, it actually and lead to a bad idea. How so? Put simply, it makes your information easy to find. Most sites and programs ask for your full name, city and state and where you work or go to school. While it’s true some do not, if you have the same username on programs that do ask that, it makes it easy for someone to Google your screen name and pull up those profiles where the information is held.

When speaking with the CCRA Executive Director about this situation, he commented, stating, “What we’re seeing is stalking suspects trying to track down their victims online. They can’t find the information on the initial platform, so they search on the web for that username. They find sites that do give out personal information, sometimes even addresses and further their stalking with that information.” He said.

The agency always suggests using different screen names or usernames on different sites for this purpose. Don’t let your same username lead to people discovering your other profiles with detailed information. Think of new usernames instead and limit what you provide in general.

Proper Way of Handling Predators


We can all agree that nobody likes online predators (except other predators). Every year seems like the problem keeps increasing with the large number of predator arrests made.

Most everyone would love the opportunity of confronting a predator and doing a justice for the community. Of course, the law does not support these actions as all are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. So what exactly can the community do to put a stop to online predators? Unfortunately this is an issue that isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

“There’s too many of them, secret websites and the dark web are rising in numbers as we speak.” said Matthew Baumgartner, Vice Executive of CCRA. “We can’t stop them all, but we can do our best to stop many of them.”

What exactly does this mean? What is there left to do? Making reports to law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) is the best course of action at this point. Ensuring parental controls are active on computers and keeping them in public areas of the house, such as the living room dramatically decrease the chances of children from becoming a victim.

As much as every minor hates it, checking your child’s phone for suspicious applications, such as Kik and Live.me are also advisable as those two apps have been known to cause much issue in the community.

Should a predator ever arrange a meeting with your child, do not under any circumstances attempt to engage them yourself. Contact law enforcement and they will properly and legally deal with the issue. Many vigilante groups have attempted to take matters into their own hands these past couple of years, by meeting the predators and recording their confrontations, which have caused many issues such as traffic accidents, injuries and mistaken identities. We have spoken to several of these vigilante groups who actually by no surprise are currently in civil suits by their accused predators.

By taking these steps and precautions you’ll ensure the predators receive the true justice they’ll get. After all, prison has been known to not being so friendly towards child predators.

Protecting Yourself on Live.Me

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Broadcasting live to everyone around the world can always be fun, especially if you have an amazing talent or speech to give. Every day, users from around the world create an account on Live.Me; a phone app for live broadcasting to tell their stories and hangout with each other.

The dark side of Live.Me and other similar programs is that online predators eventually find their way on. Regardless of Terms of Service agreements, minors still create accounts and broadcast to anyone between the ages of 12 and above, which of course includes adults.

Since the beginning of our Live.Me observation, our specialists have spotted hundreds of accounts, engaging in child enticement and sending pornography links to minors as young as 11 years old. Even with the large number of anti-predator users, which normally attempt to yell predators out of broadcasts by text, predators still stick around and make ridiculous requests.

So what can you do to help better protect yourself? Does being a minor mean you can’t fully enjoy the internet? Of course not.

CCRA recommends taking the following actions to help reduce the number of issues you observe during your internet adventures:

Dress appropriately: Minors have been observed wearing bikinis, tube tops and short-shorts on their live broadcasts. We don’t object to anyone expressing how they wish to dress, however you must keep in mind that different styles of dress will attract predators, which will eventually find their way into your broadcast.

Ignore inappropriate requests: If a predator asks you to lift up an article of clothing, simply ignore that user and use the block feature, by clicking on their name and selecting the block or ban.

Abandon the broadcast: As much as we hate to discourage users from continuing their broadcasts, if your broadcast’s users get too out of hand, ceasing your broadcast for a few hours might be the best option. Our specialists have observed that early afternoon tends to have less predators online.

Report online predators: Many users will agree that reporting individuals is time consuming and not something they’d enjoy doing, however if you observe a predator in your broadcast, chances are they’ll move onto another broadcast and cause issues there.

Don’t give out personal details: A lot of users will give out their age, location, their grade level and what extra curricular activities they participate in. Be sure you don’t give out any of this information. You’d be surprised how many predators can go looking for you based on the little details you give.

Human Trafficking: Organ Harvesting

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Mortality is absolute, it cannot be bargained with nor eliminated. Every day people are stricken with some type of illness. Everyday 22 people die due to lack of matching donor organs. People have the option to voluntarily become donors upon their death. According to donatelife.net about, “30,000 people received transplants by 8,500 deceased donors and 6,000 living donors.” It is a matter of personal choice. With so many individuals requiring  transplants, a network was created to log in donors and recipients to better serve those in need. In 1984  the Organ Transplant Act was passed. From this birthed, the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network also known as OPTN.  The goal was to provide equal grounds between recipients and transplants. One could say leveling the playing field.  Since this brought it to a national level, organs could be transported in members of a certain location did not need a particular organ for transplantation.

It comes down to supply and demand. We commonly hear about demand for liver and kidneys. In fact, it has become so common that comments of expensive items tend to cost “ an arm and a leg.”  According to the US Department of Health and Health Services  as of May 31, 2016  at 6:10 pm “102,700 people requiring liver donations. Only 77,625 make this active list.” Parameters had to be established in order to ensure the better use for organs. This is to prevent increase of rejections. To offset shortages, there is  tests that are conducted in order to find the correct “match” for recipients. Initial screenings are placed to determine who can be placed on the list. Not everyone makes it to the list and some who do are at the bottom. It is not to say that those involved do their best to ensure everyone has a fair chance but the shortage is the push behind the forced hand. People who either are not high on the list or cannot meet the list succumb to desperation.

Desperation is an emotion that drives a person to do things they would otherwise not do. Whether it is the person in need or family members, it is human to look for alternatives. Some will seek holistic and alternative medicine others will find themselves entering the underground world. The objective is to save themselves and or a loved one at whatever cost.  This increases after a transplant rejection occurs.

The black market has been the underground location to obtain goods which are illegal. However, we are not speaking about stolen electronics or medications. Human trafficking  is usually connected to prostitution and slavery, but it also involves the transportation on human beings for their organs. Living people. This has become a rising problem and open opportunity for traffickers. The National Kidney Foundation states that people in need are added every 14 minutes! Kidneys are a famous organ in the market.

Traffickers will look for prospective victims or illegal donors in many regions, commonly poor areas. Some remote locations people stand in line to sell their kidneys. Other areas require a very delicate scheme for acquisition. Those who harvest organs place monetary value on the acquisition caring not for the victim. Ruses are created in order to lure victims. Promises of a better life is very popular. Better life could be financial stability through employment or attainment of higher education. Individuals who are enticed by these, will go with the criminals voluntarily. Others are purchased from their families or worse kidnapped.  Method of transportation varies on resources and funding. However, those who go with the traffickers forced or not come to the dark reality of things. They become victims and transported like cargo. They are either sold as whole or by organs.

It is not only a problem nationally but a global issue.  Psychology Today published the article “Body Snatchers: Organ Harvesting for Profit.” Dr. Archer, the author,  explains how even children are victimized from the UK boy who’s death was ruled an accident to the “6 year old boy abandoned without his eyes.” Some willing and others against their will. If it is so risky why do people do this voluntarily? Money. People especially in impoverished areas are willing to give up an organ for compensation which will ensure family survival. Remote villages in  third world countries are famous for this. Some recipients will travel to obtain the organ, negotiate price, and have the procedure done. WHO refers to this as “transplant tourism.” The organs go to the highest bidder. There is no testing for matches or health criterion which becomes a problem. Level of sanitized harvesting can lead to complications of the recipient. Some healthcare organizations have been caught, but most are done in less than clean environmental conditions.

This becomes a cyber crime as it involved electronic data transference. Whether it is a bidding war, negotiation via telecommunications, or by transfer of monies to an account either untraceable or located in countries who are non extradition.  Traffickers will prey on  the ones seen as naive, weak, or desperate. The world wide web has managed to open doors of opportunity even for criminals. Traffickers do not have a label on their forehead to identify themselves as one. They are sly like foxes and fast as ferrets.

With summer in session  many will spend it among the social life. We are the CCRA urge to implement safe practices in your home and life in order to avoid becoming a victim. Practice safe activities and do not let yourself be alone with strangers. Always have a person to check in with. When traveling abroad, never make known that you are alone. Online interactions whether they may be of romantic, casual, or platonic nature; never disclose information or allow them to see where you live. Falling into the hands of traffickers will make it hard to be retrieved no matter where in the globe you are. As a victim in captivity, what your purpose is will be unknown until the transaction takes place. If you suspect a person to be a trafficker or have witnessed an abduction, attempt of, or some form of luring, please contact proper authorities. Organ harvest is popular whether at will or through kidnapping, people are just a dollar sign.

By understanding how something works and entering into the mind of those who seek, allows us to veer from tunnel vision. It provides a deeper understanding of how easy they become targets for criminals. How desperation basically funds underground crime and those who are victimized. Here no one wins: not the recipient, not the family, not the “surgeon,” and not the victim. They all lose and as a society: we lose.

 

 

http://www.organdonor.gov/about/data.html

https://donatelife.net/statistics/

http://www.donors1.org/patient/waitinglist/

http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/

https://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/factsheets/Organ-Donation-and-Transplantation-Stats

https://www.usrds.org/2015/view/v2_07.aspx

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201311/body-snatchers-organ-harvesting-profit

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/12/26/bangladesh-organtrafficking.html

http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/85/12/06-039370/en/

Sex Trafficking in our Backyards

The Sex Trade is the oldest industry in history. It has involved into the virtual world with technological advancements. Whether its to lure via chats such as Kik, Meetme, MocoSpace, Craigslist, or Backpage; the threat is real. Traffickers are opportunists and will make it a point to secure their product (you) from incriminating the pimps and from seeking aid. Intimidation and brainwashing are the keys to this success.

Every state has their fill of crime. Prostitution is common from the streets or through escort services. Masked with beauty parlors and companion “services” women and children are exploited. Some were victims of opportunity while others were desperate for survival from the harsh streets. A great amount of the prostitutes are victims of trafficking across state borders. There is a network between pimps/ traffickers where their “product” or women & children are transported. You may be sitting there saying,“that only happens in other places not here, not to my family.” The fact is that anyone could fall into Sex Slavery.

First let us explore how this occurs and who are more prone to becoming a victim. Criminals will prey on the weak. They will engage and get to know their prey (you), they will know everything about you, gain your trust which is key. They will appear to be honest and pose as a friend or “lover.” Before you know it, you become an item sold over and over and over again. Some will approach you on the street. Others linger in the internet waiting for new meat to arrive and lure in. What I have found to be common across the board international and domestic, is that the victims who appear to have initial gone willingly are given an offer beyond their wildest dreams. Offer of a better life, the idea that they are “loved,” a friend, and of course glamour. Traffickers have taken advantage of Materialism. Whether it’s a couple days to weeks or months of engaging on the internet, the trafficker will either meet or the victim will travel into harms way unknowingly. Either trust is gained in a manner that appears to be respect or violence forces obedience and submission. The fact is that many times the grass in not greener on the other side.

Forceful coercion is a common denominator is most cases if not all. Runaways, homeless, and naive girls and women fall prey and are kidnapped. In the United States we have the Amber Alert that notifies or sends a Be On The Look Out for missing individuals. Common sense would dictate that those forced into sexual servitude at any level would seek help from authorities. This is where the psychological abuse serves best. Victims will be threatened with violence upon them or their loved ones. They will be convinced no one cares and no one will come to the rescue. Victims will be made to understand that there is no one to fend for them and there is nowhere to go. In other occasions, through “gifts” and “perks” a pseudo relationship is established where the victim believes to be “in love” with their captor. Stockholm syndrome is extremely common in traumatic cases. In the documentary by producer Jane Wells Tricked, a pimp by the name of Robert Money stated “All women want to be with the number one.” This was his explanation on how women are willing to work for him. While on the other side of the tracks, in the Ohio town of Toledo two cousins were forced into prostitution and transferred between state lines by a pimp named Deric “Machiavelli” “Daddy.” They were only about 10 miles from home when they became the unfortunate victims of opportunity; who hitched a ride on their way to get ice cream.

More often than none we have seen sex trafficking glamorized in broad spectrum. In terms of the Sex-Trade, we have the film Pretty Woman which is its Cinderrella-esque storyline with prostitution as the main theme. We have the illusion of sexuality in Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana video. And lastly Big Trouble Little China which focuses on the sexual parlors in the heart of San Francisco China Town as the front for an alternative reality being. In all three, the women are presented as sexually driven and victims of chance or economic situation. According to soroptimist.org, “it is a 32 Billion annual industry… 800,000 annual women and children are trafficked.” The criminals get richer on the backs of defenseless women and girls.

Human Sex Trafficking occurs right outside our doors and inside our homes through cyberspace. Without noticing, that pop up of explicit material could be a minor with the identity masked to avoid law enforcement. It occurs in cyberspace through sites with explicit material. With advanced smartphone technology, ordering escort services or setting up appointments to exchange sexual services for payment in a matter of finger swipes.

For those familiar with the Yahoo chatrooms, it was shut down due to sexual related incidents that occurred in real time but originated online. Following, was the Adult Services section on Craigslist. In both their places, backpage.com has become the online directory and go-to spot for sex-trafficking. I had heard about this site but decided to investigate myself. I found that 90% of the massage lists were not only duplicate businesses ( same number) but the women and girls were more than likely forced. Titles with young, new, girls and innocent struck me as odd as that has nothing to do with a “massage” or at least the ones your average law abiding individual would get.

Trafficking becomes a cyber crime when the luring and selling occurs in the virtual realm. This can include usage of social platforms, chatrooms, forums, or smartphone applications to reach out to both potential victims and customers. Advertising occurs online in forms of escort service websites, pornography platforms, and or directory mass advertisements. Women and girls are sold by the service, hour, night and so on.

backpage.com

http://www.soroptimist.org/trafficking/faq.html

Predators behind the Cyber Curtains

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With simple clicks, we are able to navigate from one area to the other side of the globe. Technology has improved the deliverance of communication. Mankind depends on constant interaction. The world wide web has allowed us to limit travel in order to be interactive. Many frequent chatrooms, and forums to fulfill the need to interact. Nowadays, more and more people are accessing sites and interacting with strangers. Whether the intentions are honest or malicious, the areas are grey. We truly cannot verify who is the person behind the webcam or dialogue box. All we see is what they wish to disclose. What can start off as a simple conversation can have two (2) alternative endings: an innocent chat or becoming the next victim to the statistics.

“OVER 75% internet crimes involve sexual solicitation of children go unreported”-MCGRUFF SAFE GUARD

The time clock starts when the we enter the chatroom and forums. In a matter of seconds one or multiple dialogue boxes will pop. At times greetings will occur within the chat. Conversations can last from minutes to weeks. Information is exchanged and sometimes we exchange too much. The person behind the screen may appear to be interested. Their photos may be attractive or appealing to our eyes. The information that serves as identifiers may appear to be legit as the person may come off as sincere. But are they? One thing to keep in mind is that predators are opportunists, they will say everything they think will create trust. Where trust exists, confiding lingers.

Before providing personal information to strangers, consider the following:
How well do I know the person?
What are the chances that this person may be a predator?
Have they been eager for new photos and more personal information?
Have they requested to meet within hours of conversation?
Have they asked me to keep a secret or not tell anyone about the conversations? online user? Or not tell my friends or parents?
Have they requested for remote access or IP address?

One should immediately rethink providing information if they fit this criterion. Charisma is widely used to gain information that will later be used for dishonest and even heinous activities. If you engage conversation with a person, and they wish to make their presence secret tread with caution. Requesting to meet in secret is also very dangerous. Think twice before providing personal information.

According to McGruff Safe Guard:
86% chat w/o parental consent
50% teens communicate with strangers
30% teen girls are sexually solicited.
64% do things they don’t want their parents to know
1:33 teens received aggressive solicitations. They requested either to meet, exchange addresses, or talked over the phone.
75% were not troubled by the solicitation.

http://www.gomcgruff.com/m/articles_facts.asp
http://www.internetsafety101.org/predatorstatistics.htm#_ftnref