Human Traffickers Target Social Media, Dating Sites

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Human traffickers are turning to popular social media and dating websites to do their recruiting online.

It's all about supply and demand but in this case, the supply is children, and young women and men.

"There's lots of different dating websites, lots of social media websites. These traffickers are hitting all of them," said Margie Quin, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Assistant Special Agent.

Quin was in charge of the human trafficking program at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and says these predators send out hundreds of messages a day, hoping just two or three women respond.

"The women aren't models. They're not super models, that they're contacting," said Quin.

If you receive a random message from someone you do not know, complimenting your looks, and offering you a chance to make some money, chances are it's probably a human trafficker looking for their next victim.

"The average age is somewhere between 12 and 14. Fourteen, 15, 16 is the age that we're seeing among the juvenile victims, I think that's most common," said Quin.

It's important that parents monitor their children's internet usage and have conversations about what to do if a stranger contacts them online.

"Some sort of lure is thrown out, and the young girl will respond to that, and end up in a situation she didn't bargain for," said Quin.

It's most likely a situation that wont allow her to go back home without the help of law enforcement.

"It's a tremendous tool for us in the 21st Century, but it can also be the greatest danger," said Quin.

Visit The National Center for Missing and Exploited children website for resources to help parents have the tough but necessary conversations with their kids.

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