FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A Fayetteville attorney is using cybersecurity to help save the lives of children across the country.
A Northwest Arkansas team is identifying and arresting sexual predators, and rescuing children.
One year ago, a missing 16-year-old from trumann arkansas was found 12 hours away in Nebraska.
Investigators said they believed a 52-year-old man groomed the teen by sending her messages on her laptop.
A Northwest Arkansas task force found the teen within six hours of her going missing.
Now, that same task force is taking the lead nationwide to prevent and educate the community on human trafficking and child exploitation.
Kevin Metcalf is a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney of the 4th Judicial District of Arkansas, and he’s also the founder of the National Child Protection Task Force.
“Time is of the essence, where we have to take action fast and we don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel. We know what to do, we know how to do it, and we’re really good at,” Metcalf said. “Before, the process was an officer would get a missing kid or a missing person. You go through the process of figuring out what to do, because that’s not something you do everyday. Instead of that, I have a team of people who have done that over and over, and over.”
The team is made up of four local law enforcement officials who collaborate with highly skilled individuals from around the country to provide training in legal strategy, cybersecurity, and dark web basics to take down human trafficking and child exploitation.
“Kids are exposed to everything you can imagine. Sex, everything else, yet parents still refuse to talk to their kids about sex. The parents aren’t talking to their kids, somebody is going to,” Metcalf said.
What started just one year ago, is helping the most vulnerable people across state lines 24/7.
“We have helped in recovery of several children that are being exploited and the arrest of several sexual predator in multiple states.”
But Metcalf says its just the start of a bigger picture outside of technology.
“My specialty seems to be spotting gaps, identifying connections, and relationships. Parents and teachers need to be connecting with us and law enforcement, need to be connected with victim services. All of this needs to be interconnected and sharing information,” Metcalf said.
The National Child Protection Task Force also focuses on the prevention of human trafficking and child exploitation.
If you are interested in helping the task force, e-mail Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org.