Human traffickers using emojis, social media to lure victims
SAN ANTONIO – Rose, camcorder, growing heart, jet plane, crown. Those words don’t make sense written in a sentence, but according to human trafficking experts at the Roy Maas Youth Alternatives, in the language of emojis for traffickers that sentence reads 'to pay money to record having sex with an underage person who is being trafficked by a pimp.'
Chuck Paul is an outreach specialist with Roy Maas Youth Alternative.
He says in the year the Centro Seguro location has been open on the north side, they have help more than 270 young people, the majority of which are likely victims of human trafficking.
“A trafficker and San Antonio can make $632,000 a year with a stable of four children,” Paul said.
Read about all of the sex terms and codes:
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According to Paul, traffickers often use social media to get in contact with children and companies like Facebook need to do more to protect children.
“They have algorithms and AI systems that are able to identify exactly how you click, and what you click on, so they could sell that information to advertisers so I believe there’s a social responsibility for these technology companies,” Paul said.
It’s not just social media, but online games like Fortnite can be a platform used by predators too.
“Don’t have an open platform to where anybody can join in your game on fortnight because that could be a dirty dark person that’s coming in there they might pretend to be a child but they could be a predator,” Paul said.
To keep children safe, parents need to take an active role in what their child is doing online.
“There is no reasonable expectation of privacy for any child for anything they do online. And anybody who believes that is just setting their child up for exploitation,” Paul said.
A woman in Houston has filed a lawsuit against Facebook and alleges that she became a victim after a predator reached out to her on the social media site when she was just 15-years-old.
“If you profit to the tune of $40 Billion in 2017 that you have obligations and responsibilities to protect our kids,” said Annie McAdams, the attorney representing woman identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe.