Illinois Attorney General Announces New Efforts To Address Rise In Online Child Exploitation

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) – Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul on Monday announced new measures designed to address the increase in online child exploitation in the state.

These efforts include a series of free digital security webinars through the State Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Topics will include maintaining a safe online environment, learning and understanding apps like Snapchat and TikTok, helping kids navigate aggressive behaviors online, and promoting healthy online interactions. . Raoul also announced a new mobile forensic unit.

“The children have been affected [by the pandemic] in an unprecedented way. During this particular time of separation from their peers, they turned to technology for schooling, to connect with old and new friends, and to alleviate the boredom and social isolation that this crisis brings. imposed on them. And the predators of children are there to try to take advantage of it, ”said Raoul.

Raoul said cyber tips for child exploitation have grown from 3,300 tips in 2018 to more than 5,100 in 2020. He said he expects that number to increase by 23% this year. He said the pandemic had caused more children to go online and threats from online predators continued to increase.

“The threat is there, and with the increase in the use of the Internet by our children for education, entertainment and social interaction, it is increasing,” he said. “Police and prosecutors alone cannot stem the tide of sexual images of children on the Internet. We all have a role to play. “

The series will begin on October 7 and the webinars will take place at 6:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month. Interested participants can email [email protected] to register.

To report online child abuse, contact local law enforcement or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Cyber ​​TipLine at (800) 843-5678.

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