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GBI nets 49 arrests since remote schooling began, notes increased worry about crimes against children

The GBI says eight children have already been rescued from situations in which they were being sexually abused.
Generic photo of handcuffs

During the COVID-19 quarantine, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation says there's been an increased concern that abused children will be at home more often with their abusers.

And without contact with mandatory reporters such as teachers who may notice abuse indicators, arrests have been on the rise.

Since Georgia schools ceased in-person classes, the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children taskforce (ICAC) has made 49 arrests and executed 16 exigent search warrants related to online child sexual exploitation.

In addition, the GBI has arrested 15 individuals for the possession, distribution and/or production of child sexual abuse images. 

The GBI says eight children have already been rescued from situations in which they were being sexually abused with the possibility of additional victims being discovered as more interviews are conducted.

The agency says as a result of the COVID-19 quarantine, children have been online using various social media applications, chat rooms, and various gaming platforms more often which are prime online locations where sexual predators will try to make contact.

In March of 2020 alone, the GBI received over 1,000 cybertips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Childen (NCMEC) and almost 1,400 in April. 

By comparison, in April of 2019, the GBI received 587 cybertips from NCMEC. 

Nationally, NCMEC indicates a 106% increase in reporting when comparing March 2019 and March 2020 report numbers.

For additional information related to internet safety education and tips to keep children safe online you can visit www.netsmartz.org.

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