News Flash

MCAO Latest News

Posted on: October 22, 2020

Internet Use by Young People Can Turn Into Pathway to Sex Trafficking

MCAO Seal

Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Provides Tips for Parents in Ensuring Online Security

PHOENIX (Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020) — The internet can be a great resource for children and young people — but it also can be a dangerous place where predators look for potential targets for sex trafficking.

Criminals use the internet to find young people through social media or dating platforms, and find ways to lure, coerce or extort them into dangerous situations that can take them away from home and family and place them squarely in harm’s way. Sex trafficking is one of the many reasons why it’s important for parents to keep an eye on the internet usage of their children.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is working with the community to provide tips and resources for families to ensure internet safety, to protect from everything from sex trafficking to cyberbullying to becoming victims of fraud.

“It’s alarming how much more crime we are seeing over time that originates on the internet in the form of something that looks fairly innocent,” said Allister Adel, Maricopa County Attorney. “It’s critical for parents and young people to remember that there are criminals out there looking for opportunities to trick people into falling into terrible situations. We’ve found that many sex trafficking situations result from victims being lured online.”

Common tactics for recruiting young people into sex trafficking include browsing their personal feeds to find individuals who show signs of depression or low self-esteem, then grooming those victims by appealing to them through compliments or other persuasion. Often, criminals make a promise of employment or a better life to those who are vulnerable. Once those young people agree to meet a criminal, they can be kidnapped or placed in a dependent situation by depriving them of money, communications tools or even promoting drug addiction.

The County Attorney’s Office, as part of its Keeping Families Safe initiative, offers a number of important tips to parents to help monitor their children’s online presence:

  • Develop a family usage plan to promote healthy online use. Be specific, include duration, content, and location limits. Kids should limit their online usage to one hour a day.
  • Learn what apps are currently being used by young people and if you agree to let your child use an app, make sure you know why they will be using the app.
  • Avoid apps that are location-based, promote anonymity, allow random connections to strangers, and lack age monitoring, privacy settings or a report function.
  • Take advantage of parental control apps and privacy settings. Set expectations with your child early on about what they can do online and what you will monitor.
  • One of the best ways to monitor your child online is to follow or friend them on social media.
  • Teach your child about privacy and what information and content should never be shared online.
  • Emphasize the risks of sharing their name, address, school, phone number, and inappropriate photos online.
  • Talk about scenarios your child might experience online, such as cyberbullying. Help them practice reporting, blocking, and asking for help if they encounter something that makes them feel scared, sad, or nervous.
  • Contact local law enforcement and the CyberTipLine if your child receives inappropriate emails, texts, and instant messages.

“Parents are the ones on the front line when it comes to protecting their children, but law enforcement agencies such as the County Attorney’s Office and our partners in the Valley are here to help,” Adel said. “We encourage parents to be vigilant with their children’s online presence and to contact us if they see suspicious activity.”

###

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in MCAO Latest News

Man placing Credit Card info into Laptop

Shop Safely Online this Holiday Season

Posted on: November 30, 2020
Female domestic violence victim packing suitcase with clothing

Make a Safety Plan to Get Out

Posted on: October 19, 2020
Teen Girl Texting

Remind Teens to Think Before They Send

Posted on: September 28, 2020
County Attorney Allister Adel

Body-Worn Camera Request

Posted on: September 23, 2020
Online Bully

Online Bullying During COVID

Posted on: September 21, 2020
Animal Cruelty

Report Animal Abuse to Law Enforcement

Posted on: September 14, 2020
Labor Day DUI Reminder

Celebrate Labor Day Weekend Safely

Posted on: September 3, 2020
Pills on table

International Overdose Awareness Day

Posted on: August 31, 2020
Contact-Tracing

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scams

Posted on: July 23, 2020
Two Girls on Laptops

What are the risks of livestreaming?

Posted on: July 13, 2020
Prosecutor

What is a Prosecutor?

Posted on: June 25, 2020
Man Vaping

Vaping Warning Signs for Parents

Posted on: June 18, 2020
Opioids

Help Prevent Opioid Abuse at Home

Posted on: June 16, 2020
Sunset Over Canal and Homes

Keep Your Home Safe this Summer

Posted on: June 4, 2020
Looking through a car windshield at night. The lights are blurred.

Don’t Graduate into a DUI

Posted on: May 19, 2020
Happy Mothers Day

Honoring MCAO Moms

Posted on: May 8, 2020
COVID-19 Stimulus Check Scams

Stimulus Check Scams

Posted on: May 7, 2020
National Law Day 2020

It’s National Law Day

Posted on: May 1, 2020
Angela Andrews

Collaboration is Key

Posted on: April 30, 2020
Inspiration in the Face of Adversity

Inspiration in the Face of Adversity

Posted on: April 24, 2020
Heather Kirka

Charging Ahead and Working Together

Posted on: April 23, 2020
Census form on flag

We All Benefit When We Respond

Posted on: April 16, 2020
Brittany Hogard

Keeping the Wheels of Justice Rolling

Posted on: April 15, 2020
Person typing on computer keyboard

Be a Smart Online User

Posted on: April 13, 2020
Avoid Coronavirus Scams

COVID-19 Scam Awareness

Posted on: March 30, 2020

Community Outreach Highlights

Posted on: March 1, 2020
Allister with Female Staff

Celebrating Women’s History Month

Posted on: March 1, 2020
2020 Census Advertisement - Shape your Future, Start Here

YOU Count: Fill Out the Census Today

Posted on: March 1, 2020

Update On Petersen Investigation

Posted on: December 11, 2019

MCAO Honors Our Veterans

Posted on: November 8, 2019

Dion Earl Found Guilty on All Charges

Posted on: August 22, 2019

MCAO Launches Community Grants Webpage

Posted on: August 12, 2016

Update on Green Acre Dog Boarding Deaths

Posted on: September 22, 2014

National Geographic - Taboo

Posted on: August 31, 2012