Saturday, February 19, 2011

Facebook Pornography Arrests - Human Trafficking enters a dark playground

This is the fifth report in Raymond Bechard's ongoing, four-month investigation into human trafficking - taking the form of child pornography - on Facebook.

"Terry Lewis." His profile photo on Facebook showed a distinguished looking gentleman with gray hair. “Terry” looked as though he could be recognized as a celebrity - or at least he had that "celebrity look" to him.

Like any Facebook profile, if you were a friend of “Terry,” you could look at his photos and see some of his interests. If you were a very good friend, he might even unlock his hidden Facebook gallery for you. There you would discover “Terry’s” real Facebook “interests” and “activities” . . . explicit photographs of children . . . hundreds of them.

We became aware of “Terry” and his child pornography habits - a form of human trafficking - in January of this year through a fictitious Facebook profile I created. “Terry” continually wanted to "trade" photos of children with our avatar which was created to bait men like him. The bait worked. While he continued to ask for photos in return for the ones he was sharing on his profile’s gallery, my devoted colleague, “Facebook Watcher” immediately reported him to law enforcement as did another man from Fairhope, Alabama.

Keep in mind; we make frequent reports to law enforcement whenever we witness these crimes on Facebook. Once the reports are made however, we don’t expect much progress. Federal and State internet crime investigators are horribly overworked and have hundreds of cases in front of them.

This time we were very pleased.

“We contacted Kentucky ICAC about him,” writes “Facebook Watcher” in today’s blog (ICAC is the State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.) “They were responsive and professional.” They were also very effective in their investigation leading to a criminal complaint issued this week by Mobile, Alabama based FBI agents. So who is the man behind Terry Lewis? The FBI identified him and arrested Jerry L. Cannon, who, until yesterday, was the Pastor at God's House in Dry Ridge, KY.

In an article citing the criminal complaint against Cannon, he is quoted to have sent a message on his Facebook profile saying, “'Hope you have pics for me, i added you to see my pics So far
i posted, kisses.'” The message was typical of those he sent to his “friends” including the “bait” profile we established.

If Facebook has the human and technological resources to topple governments and shift human history, shouldn’t it be able to prevent these images from being placed on their system? Why was this man – along with so many others - allowed by Facebook do this?

Today, Jerry Cannon’s wife and three children are facing an unknown future. They have been terrorized by the secret compulsions of a man they did not truly know. His church must face Sunday morning with gut-wrenching grief – their shepherd in jail facing charges of crimes even the most secular among us would call demonic.

Yet this is just one man who has been caught. There are thousands of others still out there . . . using Facebook as their dark playground.

Human Trafficking - a story that's easy to ignore

Human Trafficking is happening all across the world of Facebook. Through pedophiles using the social networking site to trade explicit images of children – some only newborns – to online prostitution sites openly enticing men to ‘like’ their pages and use their ‘services,’ Facebook is the new home of human trafficking.

“Technology has played a fundamental role in this change,” writes Sudhir Venkatesh, a sociology professor at Columbia University, in a recent edition of Wired Magazine. “No self-respecting cosmopolitan man looking for an evening of companionship is going to lean out his car window and call out to a woman at a traffic light.”

Between 2008 and 2010, a growing tide of legal and public protest rose against Craigslist and their “Erotic” and “Adult” services section. These were blatant advertisements for prostitution and human trafficking. Craigslist pulled the ads in the United States in September of 2010 and then worldwide last December.

The changes Craigslist made didn’t change a thing.

“Even before the crackdown on the site’s adult-services section,” says Venkatesh,“sex workers were turning to Facebook.” He further estimates “that by the end of 2011, Facebook will be the leading on-line recruitment space.”

Today, thousands of false Facebook profiles are established every week which are merely links to outside websites featuring women and men for sale. Notorious sites such as “Adult” and “” have facebook profiles and “groups” with titles like “Young Girl Sex” and “Children Naked” with direct links to their homepages.

Today, February 17, 2011, President Obama is scheduled to meet with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Since the story of human trafficking on Facebook has been ignored by the media and barely touched by law enforcement, it is doubtful the subject will come up. Unfortunately, this oversight leaves thousands of victims at risk.

The only way to motivate Facebook to dedicate the necessary resources for keeping these abusive profiles off their site is to bring this story out in the open. If you do nothing else, please subsribe to my series of Facebook articles on

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Facebook: The Dark Side of the Great Cyber-Nation: Child Pornography

Human Trafficking on Facebook. Yes. And here is the truth of the matter . . .

All free societies give equal opportunity for their angels and their demons. When given its liberties, all aspects of human nature, good and bad, glorious and evil, have the freedom to make the most of its creations.

Given a voice, "The better angels" of a free society often bring these liberties to other cultures waiting eagerly for their divine right to equality and justice.

This week the world witnessed the beautiful contagion of democracy spread from one free Cyber- Nation to the people of Egypt. Facebook, often referred to as the third-most populous nation on earth (with 500 million users, it falls behind China and India respectively), has been given overwhelming credit for the revolution in Egypt by those who used its instant power of communication to undercut Mubarek's authority.

Just a few short weeks ago, Wael Ghonim, a 30 year old Egyptian computer engineer began a revolution by igniting the first protests in his country on Facebook. He was detained by authorities there, held for 12 days, and then released. This was the beginning of the end for Mobarek’s three decades of perpetual “State of Emergency” dictatorship. Of the revolution going beyond Egypt, Ghonim advised, “If you want to liberate a government, give them the internet.” And when asked by CNN which nation would be next, he simply said, “Ask Facebook.”

Indeed, for the first time in human history, we can go beyond simply calling ourselves 'citizens of the world.' Now, we can truly behave as fellow citizens, concerned for our mutual liberties, safety, well-being, and future. Consider that Facebook and other Social Networking sites are in their mere infancy. As this and related technology spreads, so too will our collective ability to communicate, share, understand, and accept freely. Borders between nations - borders of all kinds: political, cultural, religious, linguistic, and economic - will begin to fade along with the arrogance and ignorance that built them in the first place.

But first, we have work to do. As in any open society, there are also the dark passengers beside us on this journey. Within Facebook, and throughout the internet, there are those who seek to constantly feed their twisted desires and validate their abuse of children by building relationships with others who prey on youth across the globe.

The evidence is clear and growing. Child Pornography – a form of human trafficking under United States Law and International Agreements – has invaded Facebook. This new “land of the free” is in danger of becoming yet another nation which cannot govern itself to the extent that it can protect its ‘citizens’ from the most dangerous among us.

This is not a problem without a solution. Events in Egypt prove this. As Facebook is used by revolutionaries throughout the world, we need to spark a revolution within Facebook itself. We must light up these dark corners of our Cyber-Nation – of which we are all a part - and expose the violence lurking there.

Just this morning, one insightful website asks: "If Wael Ghonim can start this revolution, which in-turn freed a country… with the internet at your fingertips, I ask, “What can YOU do?” If Social Media can free Egypt… IMAGINE the change WE can stir!"

Yes. Imagine, a Facebook that spreads freedom to billions across the world who are waiting for their turn while crushing those who delight in the most terrible abuses of our world's children.

“This revolution started online, started on Facebook,” Ghonim said. "I want to meet Mark Zuckerburg one day and thank him." Yes, I would like to meet him as well and – one day – thank him for ridding his website of these criminals.

At this very moment, we are creating tools and resources you can use for placing pressure on Facebook, certainly a free society from which we all benefit, to implement effective policies and procedures that will not allow sexually explicit images of children to be posted, shared, or traded among pedophiles. Soon, we will be asking you to march in the city square. Get ready.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Facebook – New Frontier of Human Interaction or Wild West of Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking, this time taking the form of child pornography, is alive and well on Facebook. While the practice of pedophiles using the incredibly popular and powerful social networking website to shares images and videos of children being sexually assaulted is commonplace, what’s new and surprising is the lack of attention their crimes receive.

Having reported the practice to the FBI, individual state law enforcement, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Facebook itself, a small but growing group of citizens is now taking it upon themselves to monitor and document the activities of those posting images of and links to children, some only toddlers, engaged in sex acts with adult males and females.

The captions to some of these photos – which are illegal to possess even as digital files - tell the story of the horrible and twisted pride these abusers exhibit when boasting about the images they post on Facebook. "Barbara my model!” says one profile under the photo of a nude child. “She began sex at only 4 years! Now she is 17, a real slut nymphomaniac!" Another says, "She is one of my best lilmodels! Now she is 10 yo, but she began to do sex since 2 ys!”

Of course, few of these offenders use their real names for the Facebook profiles they create. However, criminal justice authorities and Facebook have the ability to track them down. “Some people who had used the screen names ‘Stephanie Stewart,’ ‘Lisa King,’ ‘Jenna Foltz,’ ‘Amy Farmer,’ ‘Buffy Tanner,’ ‘Katy Ellis,’ ‘Katy Cat,’ and ‘Katy Kat’ were recently indicted for using Facebook groups to share child pornography,” writes the “Watching Facebook” blogger, an excellent and dedicated investigator into child pornography on Facebook. “Theindictment also refers to a ‘Jodie Green’ account. How many of these defendants are female? None. The American defendants are James Paul Byrd, David Large, Brian Slott, Daniel Slott, and Henry Wright. In fact, Brian and Daniel Slott are registered sex offenders in Wisconsin. "Jodie Green" was actually Ian Green, a British sex offender who has already been sentenced to prison for his role in the groups.

Through this case it is obvious that law enforcement can do something about child pornography on Facebook when it focuses its time and resources on the problem. This was also the case in New York where Gene Wasneechak was arrested for possessing child pornography following a police investigation into his Facebook postings. They began investigating Wasneechak after he began several Facebook relationships with underage girls who are especially vulnerable to these solicitations.

“It's not hard to guess how these people found the photos of adolescents and young women that they used in their profile photos,” writes the “Watching Facebook” blogger. “We've also seen these people solicit nude photos from girls they believe to be underage. If they got one, they would almost certainly trade it with other like-minded people. Child pornography is a largely a barter-based economy, and images that had not previously been circulated would be valuable currency.”

The currency here is children being used for sex. The market in which they trade is Facebook – a virtual community most of us visit every day. Yet, in the back alleys of this new village square crimes are being committed against children; nightmarish crimes most find hard to believe. Yet they continue to be perpetrated by a growing number of criminals who – except for a few isolated cases – go undisturbed in the practice of their giddy perversions and violence.

The objective here is to motivate Facebook to utilize its vast intellectual resource in bringing an end to these crimes taking place on their website. No matter what they might be doing now, it is clearly not enough. Through a mounting collection of videos and images, these crimes against children are growing every day.

Federal Crimes on Facebook

Typically, my research into human trafficking includes interviewing people, scouring the internet, the occasional records vault at a town hall or police station, among others. Usually, this level of research leads to.....yet more research. What you discover just brings up more questions which demand yet more research to answer.

Last week that all changed. A few days ago, as I was investigating human trafficking abuses on Facebook, my research led me to the FBI. I left their offices moments ago where I met with a very helpful and deeply concerned Special Agent. Here is what I reported to him:
"I am in the final stages of researching a book on commercial sexual exploitation in the United States. Much of the book focuses on the internet and how it is used by those involved in human trafficking and child pornography. As an essential part of my research, I created a Facebook (FB) "avatar" (fake) profile. On January 27, 2011, at approximately 10:30 a.m. (EST), through the the avatar profile I requested acceptance into the closed FB group, “sex litllle girls."

Moments later, the avatar was accepted into the group by a profile known as Marcos Robson. At the time of avatar’s acceptance, there were 30 photographs posted on this particular Facebook group. These photographs were explicit images of girls appearing to range in ages between 3 and 9 years. The images showed these girls involved in vaginal, oral, and anal sex acts. Some are bound with duct tape. According to the group’s Facebook “wall,” “sex litlle girls” was created at approximately 7 PM EST on January 26, 2011 by a Facebook profile named Lourdes Tromcos. On January 27, 2011, at 11:15 a.m. EST, “sex litlle girls” had 51 members and the number of photos posted had grown to 37 including one with what appeared to be a female newborn and the genitals of an adult male."

Keep in mind, this is not some hidden, back channel way for pedophiles to trade images under the radar. This is Facebook. They are openly using Facebook's system to display and trade images of children being sexually attacked. In reporting the crime to the FBI, which is any citizen's responsibility upon witnessing a federal crime as I had, I hope to motivate an investigation as to why Facebook allows these postings to continue.

While the FBI - who are massively overworked - does there job, it is time for us to do ours. Please tell Facebook that you insist they implement software - Which Is In Existence Right Now - that will not allow these photos to be posted.

I will have much more information coming soon. This is an extensive and ongoing investigation of Facebook and Human Trafficking and we are just getting started.

A $50 Billion Company - The Perfect Place for Human Trafficking

This is the first in a series of reports related to Raymond Bechard's three-month investigation of Facebook.

There is a new place for human trafficking. And you probably go there several times a day.

It starts with a photograph. The young girl, perhaps six or seven years old, is not smiling in the picture. With her head turned slightly to the right, she looks coyly at the lens. Her hair is coiffedin a highly stylized arrangement with green and yellow ribbons. Along with other makeup, she is wearing lipstick, eyeliner and shadow. She is standing outside, a blue sky and unidentified foothills behind her.

She is holding an inflatable Daffy Duck. She is completely naked.

Most of the child's body is exposed in a sexual manner - making this photograph a violation of Federal Human Trafficking laws. Anyone involved or possessing the photograph could be prosecuted. The photographer, the men posting it, and the men downloading it and keeping it on their computer are all guilty according to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act which states that trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children can take many forms including child pornography.

Of course, this is not the only photograph. It is part of a collection that is growing online by the hour. Nor is it hidden away on an obscure, offshore website. It is on Facebook. Along with other photos of naked, costumed, and posed children, the sexually explicit images are simply a collection called "Model Kids" on the profile of “Marcos Teia.” “Marcos” is clearly an online “avatar,” a falsified Facebook profile which effectively hides the true identity of the person behind the page.

After a three-month investigation in which I created my own Facebook avatar in order to infiltrate the world of pedophiles and child-abusers using Facebook, I uncovered an enormous, thriving online community of human trafficking, prostitution, child pornography, and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation.

“Marcos Teia's”profile, which uses Spidermanas a profile photo and has a Brazilian email address, has over 200 friends - at least, this week he does. That's because Marcos disappears every so often. One day he is on Facebook with hundreds of friends - whose profiles also exhibit sexually explicit photographs of children and adults on the social networking site - and the next day he is gone. A few days later he's back, eager to confirm friend requests from anyone.

Most of the reported 500 million users of Facebook probably think it is generally safe from such content and well patrolled. With some privacy concerns, the vast majority of Facebook users, from private citizens, to major corporations, NGO's, politicians, and even the President of the United States, have no idea that it is home to a massive collection of unreported pornography of all kinds.

While we have reported “Marcos” several times - which may explain why he vanishes so often - he always returns with the same name, profile photo, birthday, email address and, worst of all, sexually explicit photographs of children in his "Model Kids" collection. The obvious question is to Facebook: If this one profile continues this activity, why not remove it permanently? And if the abuse is ongoing, why not report it to the FBI?

Recently, Facebook "raised $500 million from Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies, the Russian investment firm, in a deal that values the social networking site at $50 billion" according to The New York Times. This gives the company a value greater than most car companies, defense contractors, and other online businesses like Ebay and Amazon. Perhaps some of the money could be used to develop software that would automatically eradicatesexually explicit photos and profiles. I have requested information from Facebook concerning their procedures for safety and reporting violations to law enforcement. So far, no reply.