Predators Increase Presence Online - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Predators Increase Presence Online


 Beckley (WVVA) -- Just days after getting arrested in a child sex sting, Johnnie Champ is a long way from the Princeton home where police said he attempted to solicit a 5-year-old online. The way champ was caught may seem like a scene off of 'To Catch a Predator,' but according to child advocates, child sex abuse happens more often than you think.

According to expert Scott Miller with Just For Kids, predators are increasing their presence online and they are looking to strip away the innocence of young children. "Access to the internet opens up this world that is huge and unfortunately opens up the world to a lot of predators."

Millers says predators lurk everywhere -- in parks, at schools, and even online. "It's huge. We interviewed 300 children in 3 counties we serve and 70 percent of them disclosed that they had been abused and in many cases, it started online."

Counselor Hamlet Smith believes these predators will target children with certain vulnerabilities. "The crime of sexual abuse is contingent on finding someone who is vulnerable. Listen to the voice in your head saying something is not right here."

If you suspect abuse, reports can be made to the West Virginia Child Abuse and Neglect hotline at 1-800-352-6513. Calls may remain anonymous.

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