Predators luring teen boys into making porn

by: Henry Rosoff Updated:

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SEATTLE -- Child predators are literally luring teenage boys into producing child pornography.

It is the latest trend Homeland Security Investigations is trying to prevent. 

The trick works like this: a predator chats with a 13 or 14-year-old boy through Facebook or any other social media site, pretending to be a teenage girl. Then the predator suggests a video chat. Using videos and pictures of real girls, the predator tricks the boy into having virtual sex online.

“There's software out there that can capture those images,” said Brad Bench, with Homeland Security Investigations in Seattle.

So the boy never even realizes he's producing child pornography.  Agents busted a ring of child predators that used the webcams earlier this year. When the experts started breaking down pedophiles' hard drives they found 251 victims were tricked across 39 states - including five boys in Western Washington.

“It's shock,” said Bench while discussing how the victims react when they find out they’ve been recorded. “It's absolute shock for the victim, it's heartbreaking, heartbreaking for the families. It's hard on our agents that have to go out and convey this message.” 

“In many cases it's a lifelong impact,” said Seattle Police Capt. Mike Edwards. He leads the local Internet Crimes Against Children taskforce.

Edwards said luring children into producing explicit images of themselves is the biggest growing problem he sees.

“It's not diminishing,” he said. “It's not stable, it's growing -- and we need to start getting on top of it now.”

Part of the way Homeland Security is “getting on top of it” is by educating parents and kids through a program called IGaurdian. Agents even use cartoons to connect with kids in a way they might better understand.

“The self-produced images are preventable and if we can prevent those we can be miles ahead,” Bench said.

The education program has to be requested by a school district and May is the right time of year to host the program just before summer break. During the summer more children are home and online – and predators know that.

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