The front line of the new undercover war on child pornography is a place where an FBI agent, a West Point graduate with a degree in computer engineering, must step away from his own family’s dinner table and pretend to be a man interested in trading a fictitious daughter for sex, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The FBI’s Safe Child Task Force in Atlanta is the forefront of fighting a wave of child pornography. The subculture was thought nearly wiped out two decades ago, when federal customs agents and postal inspectors cracked down on importing or creating pornographic images of children.
Now, the Internet and digital cameras have given the subculture new life. It flourishes in online chat rooms with nicknames that conceal their true nature, and in open Web sites that peddle child porn from overseas. Where child molestation once played out behind closed doors, now it often plays out on the Web, for anyone who cares to look. Six men were arrested in Georgia this month on charges they raped a 12-year-old girl at the home of a man who had posted images of the girl’s abuse and advertised for men to come have sex with her, police say. More than 40 percent of the 775 child pornography subjects identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were being molested by a parent and the resulting images broadcast to the Web. The Journal-Constitution describes how agents go after online predators.