I-TEAM: Six Minutes

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Monday, Oct.14th, 2019

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It only took six minutes for a local sex trafficker to make contact with our I-Team using social media. We've been warning parents about sex traffickers targeting teens through certain apps like KIK, Snapchat, and Whisper.

Senior Investigative Reporter Liz Owens responded to a nearby post on the app Whisper. The post read "Anybody need help with money? Msg me serious people only." The post could have easily been mistaken for a possible job opportunity. Whisper allows people to make anonymous posts. The text is usually over a picture.

This is the following conversation between our reporter and the person on Whisper:

Liz: "Need help with money."
Girl "Okay well if you're a guy I need a f**** buddy for my premium when people for it I'll cut you in on half but if you're a girl I have a sugar daddy who gives me $1200 or more every two weeks the highest I've gotten is 2500.
Liz: "I'm a girl."
Girl: "You interested?"
Liz: "What do I need to do?"
Girl: "Do you have KIK or Snapchat so you can talk to him?
Liz" "Yeah"
Girl: "He'll msg you"
Girl: "You're open minded right?"
Liz: "Yeah."

KIK and Snapchat are social media apps which automatically delete conversations. Warnings signs disappear before parents can spot them.
It's the perfect place for sex traffickers to meet new victims.

Agent Charles Kicklighter has arrested many traffickers through apps. His online profile is a young teenage girl. Our I-Team asked the GBI agent to take over the conversation with the sex trafficker on KIK.: "I'm really nervous though. I've never done anything like this you know," he writes to the "sugar daddy." "He said do you stay in Augusta are you okay with sex and pics? He said yes. I said the two of us? He said yeah. I knew what he was talking about....sex trafficking and having me well my profile work for him," Agent Kicklighter told our
I-Team.

The man on KIK tells the agent he is 34-years old and will pay $1500. "Holy crap that's a lot....live with mom who works all the time I want nice things and a new i-Phone. The man replies "okay I definitely get you whatever you want."

This is how many teens get sucked into the world of sex trafficking. "Think of a 14 or 15 year old girl. A thousand dollars a week is a lot of money," Agent Kicklighter warns

Agent Kicklighter tells the man on KIK he is 14 years old. The man asks for see pictures and then types "14? I can't do anything it would be wrong."

The conversation between the undercover agent and the trafficker ends. We don't know what would have happened had the agent given a slightly older age to the man on KIK. "They're on these apps 24/7 grooming children looking for girls to work for them," Kicklighter warns. "Your kid could respond to what looks like an ad to make money and then move over to an app that deletes a conversation and parents have no idea and then within minutes if not a day or two they could be sex trafficked?" Liz Owens asks Kicklighter. "Yes," he replies.

It can happen in just six minutes.

Law enforcement warns parents to keep an eye out for the following apps:

-Ask.fm
-Badoo
-Bumble
-Calculator%
-Grindr
-Holla
-Hot or Not
-Kik
-LiveMe
-MeetMe
-Skout
-SnapChat
-TikTok