prowl Internet chat rooms hoping to lure
teens into cyber flirtations. Over time,
these adults cultivate online romances.
Then they try to move their victims offline
for intimate—and illegal—relationships.
call them "travelers"—adults
who travel to have sex with children they've
met on the Internet. And we want to get
them off the road.
do we stop these predators? Largely
through our Innocent
Images National Initiative, which teams
FBI agents and local police in proactive
task forces across the country. These officers
and agents pose as kids in Internet chat
rooms and wait to be approached. Tragically,
it usually doesn't take long.
predators start talking with us instead
of a real child, we're potentially keeping
them from victimizing someone," said
Kevin Gutfleish, a senior analyst with Innocent
Images. "Prevention is what we're all
follow strict guidelines to make sure we're
not entrapping anyone," Gutfleish added.
"We've found that travelers know exactly
what they're doing when they arrange these
trips and are perfectly clear what they
expect to happen when they meet their victims."
Most travelers we catch end up pleading
guilty, he said, because the evidence is
try enticement: sending money or a ticket
to minors to lure them to visit. It can
also include encouraging minors to engage
in illegal sexual activity, such as child
these efforts, the number of these cases
is on the rise. Right now, we've got
some 4,400 Innocent Images cases currently
being investigated across the nation.
the increase? We believe it's a combination
of factors, including: