Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Carmel on the Case: Predators On The Prowl
Sexual predators are known for trolling the internet on a hunt for children, but their sickening search may soon get a whole lot easier according to those who work to stop them. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
WSVN -- The red markers on this Florida map look like fireworks and they do indicate an explosion, an explosion of child pornography.
Detective: "Each flag on there shows where child pornography, within a 30 day period, is available for sharing on the internet."
In the past month, law enforcement officers have found 334 South Florida computers sharing child pornography online, but not everyone is just trading explicit images, others are using computers to actually make contact with kids.
Carmel Cafiero: "Why would you think it's OK to have sex with a 15 year old?"
7 News has been there for the takedowns.
Cop: "OK, we've got him pulling in, pulling in, pulling in."
But for every arrest, somebody else is still online looking for young victims.
Carmel Cafiero: "Can you tell us why you simply can't stay away from little children?"
This detective who investigates online crimes against children asked that we conceal his identity.
Carmel Cafiero: "As we sit here today, how at risk are our children?"
Detective: "Our children are at risk every single day of the week. All hours of the day and night."
And he says governor Rick Scott's plan to disband the child predator cyber crime unit of the Attorney General's Office will make the problem even worse.
Detective: "To where if I was child predator I would want to move to Florida."
Also alarmed state representative Ari Porth. He says the governor's proposal would gut the unit.
State Rep. Ari Porth: "A lot of people would go unnoticed and will go off the radar and I would be worried for our children."
The unit is credited with 263 arrests since it was created in 2005. We asked the Attorney General's Office for its opinion of the proposed changes and received this statement: "We will work with the governor and the legislature to ensure that the cybercrime program continues and that our children are protected."
Carmel: "This is shaping up to be just one more battle that will play out when the legislature meets next month. The governor's office told us only that he is committed to working with law enforcement to protect public safety."
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