NORTHWEST LOUISIANA (KTAL/KMSS) – The Northwest Louisiana Human Trafficking Task Force (Task Force) has noticed a disturbing rise in sexual predator cases in the state, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office has reported a 200 percent increase in online sexual predator cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
Because of this trend, the Task Force, which is comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organizations, has launched “Project R.I.S.K.” (Reliable Internet Safety for Kids).
Since March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has pushed youth more to the internet than ever before.
Today, the internet not only entertains and connects young people to their peers, but a vast majority of them are using the internet for virtual schooling. This increase in internet activity allows more opportunity for predators to interact with juveniles.
Law enforcement says predators easily adapt to changing environments.
In the Public Service Announcement launching Project R.I.S.K., leaders of area law enforcement agencies provide advice to help prevent predators from victimizing children.
These leaders advise all guardians (parents, teachers, custodians, etc.) to place all devices (computers, laptops, tablets, and phones) in common areas.
Phones – even those with no service – allow the same access to predators as a computer or other device.
Parents and guardians need to know what apps are on all devices and also know their children’s passwords. Project R.I.S.K. encourages all parents and guardians to engage in their children’s activities.
The agencies in the Task Force share a united front to eliminate all human trafficking type cases; however, to be more successful, they need the public’s help.
They understand most parents and guardians want to protect their kids but may not know where to look for “reliable internet safety information.”
Project R.I.S.K. has asked all Task Force agencies to post this reliable information on their websites, so guardians will always have this information at their fingertips.
Finally, members of the Task Force will be available to meet with citizens, local government officials, community organizations, school boards, churches, and other groups to discuss Project R.I.S.K. and internet safety.
Law Enforcement Members
Bossier City Marshal’s Office
Bossier City Police Department
Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office
Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office
Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force (FBI-Shreveport Field Office)
Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office
DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office
Federal Bureau of Investigations, Shreveport Field Office
Greenwood Police Department
Homeland Security Investigations, Shreveport Field Office
Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
Louisiana Alcohol Tobacco Commission
Louisiana State Police
Office of Special Investigations, Barksdale Air Force Base
Sabine Parish Sherriff’s Office
Shreveport Police Department
United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General
United States Department of State
United States Marshal Service, Western District of Louisiana
Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office
United States Attorney’s Office (Western District of Louisiana)
Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office
Bossier/Webster Parish District Attorney’s Office
Louisiana State Attorney’s General Office