TAMPA, Florida — Volunteers in Tampa gathered on Sunday to counter sex trafficking during the Skull Games, an event that helps identify survivors of trafficking and those responsible for the crimes.
Volunteers with experience on what's called "open-source intelligence" used online tools, data and shared knowledge from experts.
Jeff Tiegs, Chief Operating Officer of All Things Possible Ministries, said people are actively being sold on the internet and groomed on social media. They often include teenage girls or boys who weren't given enough support, along with adults 18-20 years of age, but have been groomed by criminals earlier.
“The ability to recruit and groom victims is at an all-time high,” Tiegs stated in a news release from Echo Analytics Group. “Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are riddled with predators. They are all over Minecraft and Roblox. They use mediums where you can share photos and videos. They are on Whisper and Scout, and they are on all the dating sites.”
Volunteers over the weekend aimed to find clues and information, then alert authorities of their reports in hopes that it can lead to rescues or arrests.
So far, volunteers have been able to identify 45 survivors of trafficking and 20 persons of interest through previous Skull Games events, the news release mentioned.
“The work that Jeff and the team at All Things Possible is critical to helping law enforcement across the country,” Buddy Jericho, CEO of Echo Analytics Group, said in a statement. “Through our work together, we can help save lives and put an end to human trafficking.”
In addition, anyone with an interest in countering sex trafficking can become a volunteer by contacting the Echo Analytics Group.