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SHREVEPORT, La. – 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 combatting human trafficking cases in our area. This Task Force has launched a campaign to fight sexual predator cases called “Project R.I.S.K.,” Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced.
Members of the Task Force have noticed a disturbing trend in the rise of sexual predator cases in the Western District of Louisiana. Because of this trend, the Task Force has launched “Project R.I.S.K.” (Reliable Internet Safety for Kids).
Since March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has pushed our youth to be on the internet more than ever before. Today, the internet not only entertains and connects our youth with their peers, but a vast majority of them are using the internet for virtual schooling. The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office has reported a 200% increase in online sexual predator cases since the beginning of the pandemic. This increase in internet activity allows more opportunity for predators to interact with our youth. As we see in all cases, predators will also adapt to their changing environments.
The Task Force has created a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to launch Project R.I.S.K. and contains messages from leaders of area law enforcement agencies providing advice to help prevent predators from victimizing children.
Leaders advise 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. 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.
All agencies in this Task Force share a united front to eliminate all human trafficking type cases; however, to be more successful, they need assistance from the public. Many parents and guardians want to protect their children but may not know where to look for reliable internet safety information. Project R.I.S.K. is designed to assist with that. The Project R.I.S.K. PSA will provide reliable information and the law enforcement agencies involved in this Task Force can help as well. Members of the Task Force will be available to meet with citizens, local government officials, community organizations, school boards, churches, and other groups to discuss Project R.I.S.K. and internet safety.
The members of the Northwest Louisiana Human Trafficking Task Force are:
Law Enforcement Members
Bossier City Marshal’s Office
Bossier City Police Department
Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office
Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office
Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force (FBI-Shreveport Field Office)
Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office
DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office
Federal Bureau of Investigations, Shreveport Field Office
Greenwood Police Department
Homeland Security Investigations, Shreveport Field Office
Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
Louisiana Alcohol Tobacco Commission
Louisiana State Police
Office of Special Investigations, Barksdale Air Force Base
Sabine Parish Sherriff’s Office
Shreveport Police Department
United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General
United States Department of State
United States Marshal Service, Western District of Louisiana
Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office
United States Attorney’s Office (Western District of Louisiana)
Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office
Bossier/Webster Parish District Attorney’s Office
For further information regarding Project R.I.S.K., contact any of the members above or Assistant United States Attorney Earl Campbell at 318-676-3600.
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