Childhood abduction victim warns of online predators being more active now, especially since everyone is under quarantine, which includes your children.
Yet Another Thing To Worry About
Children's safety advocates, as well as law enforcement, are warning parents to be more mindful of their children's activities online. The reason is quite simple; there may be several sexual or child predators out there who would take advantage of the quarantine and manipulate the children to their desires.
"This is an overwhelming time, but this is something that cannot be ignored ... Kids are home, and the predators are home, and they are picking these kids out and easily able to find them ... They know where they are, and they're going to be in the places where the kids spent the most time."
What Alicia Kozakiewicz Experienced
At a very young age of 13, Kozakiewicz had the misfortune of being kidnapped from her home on January 1, 2002. Her abductor was able to contact her online and was able to lure her out of her home in Pittsburgh, Penn.
From Penn, she was transported off to Herndon, Va.; this is where she was held captive in a dungeon basement and experienced severe traumatic abuse from her captor.
In related news, an episode of Crime Stories comes just right after the arrest of 30 men in Fairfax County, VA. in April in line of an online child predator sting operation, called "Operation COVID crackdown."
The Virginia police have said that virtual learning heightens the risk of children becoming exposed as targets by sexual predators online since the schools are forced to close due to the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Kozakiewicz told Grace the means of how child predators use to exploit children online, "I was groomed. I was introduced to the person in a chatroom ... Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, none of that existed yet, this was back in 2002 and I was the first case to receive high-profile media attention in an Internet luring."
She also added, "Grooming is incredibly simple. It's just pretending to be a child's friend and being there for them ... Kids struggle with so many vulnerabilities and so many insecurities and these predators feed on those. They find them and they exploit them."
What Law Enforcement Are Doing About It
Fairfax country Police Department Major Ed O'Carroll shared her views in a statement last month saying: "Our detectives have remained vigilant and they recognized the increased threat posed by online predators in recent weeks... I commend their ability to adapt during this unprecedented public health pandemic and to do so in the interest of protecting our children and bringing justice to those who commit these repugnant crimes."
So parents who have been lenient or thought that they're doing what they can to ensure their kids are safe, think again. The coronavirus may not be the only problem you have to deal with, and it's essential to keep your children safe from online predators.