The FBI, along with local law enforcement officers assigned to Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces, focus on men and women called “travelers,” who use the Internet to find children for sex. Even though the FBI leads these efforts, most of the cases are prosecuted in local courts.
Usually a case begins with an ad placed on Internet sites that advertise these kinds of relationships.
Sometimes, after a few email exchanges, the undercover agent posing as a child will say that he is underage but looking for experience. Another approach is to pose as a parent looking for a sex partner for a child.
Arrests are made when suspects show up at an arranged meeting place.
“They’re virtually unwinnable cases from the defense’s standpoint,” said David Dun, the public defender representing two men in Catoosa County “Craigslist” cases.
A conviction could mean as much as 20 years in prison.
In the past year in Georgia, FBI cases of child-exploitation cases, including “travelers” as well as other types of crimes, have:
• Resulted in 10 convictions.
• Led to 25 arrests.
• Involved 44 children who were victims of Internet crimes.