SHREVEPORT, La. — The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Louisiana announced Monday that its Northwest Louisiana Human Trafficking Task Force have launched a campaign to fight sexual predator cases called “Project R.I.S.K.”
According to a release from acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook, the Northwest Louisiana Human Trafficking Task Force is comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organizations, and was formed in an effort to promote enhanced collaboration between all agencies involved in combating human trafficking cases.
Members of the task force have noticed a disturbing trend in the rise of sexual predator cases in the Western District of Louisiana, the release states. And, because of this trend, the task force has launched “Project R.I.S.K.,” which stands for Reliable Internet Safety for Kids.
Hook states in the release that since March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has pushed youth to be on the internet more than ever before especially with a vast majority of them that are now using the internet for virtual schooling.
According to the release, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office has reported a 200% increase in online sexual predator cases since the beginning of the pandemic, which allows more opportunity for predators to interact with youth.
Project R.I.S.K. advises all guardians - including parents, teachers and custodians - to place all devices such as computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones in common areas.
Smart phones, even those with no service, allow the same access to predators as a computer or other device, the release states. Guardians need to know what apps are on these devices and also know their children’s passwords. Project R.I.S.K. also encourages all guardians to engage in their children’s activities.
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