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Missing and Exploited Children

June 10th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is 25 this year. The agency has saved thousands of children and equipped police to fight crimes against children. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the national center actually began a year earlier here in Florida.

In 1983, John Walsh and wife Reeba watched then Governor Bob Graham sign legislation creating the nations first missing childrens agency. Housed in this nondescript office, a year later, it became the nations first Center for missing children. John Walsh has been hunting bad guys ever since.

The center still is battling. It deals with missing and exploited children of many, many things the national center has to do,” Walsh said. “But it all started here in Florida.

25 years later, there still plenty for the National Center to do. At 11am, more than 200 people were sharing child porn at this one internet site. The files had names like underage child daughter or daughter and dad. Many more were far too graphic to mention. While we were watching, so was the Department of Law Enforcement.

Were thinking, with over a hundred videos that this person is collecting, [theyre] very likely to molest a child,” Special Agent Mike Phillips said.

It is monitoring sites like this one that led to the arrest of 77 people. Once seized, copies of their computer hard drives are sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which helps identify victims. For Agent Mike Duffey, the job is both overwhelming and rewarding.

You have that ability to stop that victimization and save that child,” Duffey said. “It really brings the good to the work that you do.

FDLE estimates that at any given time, thousands of people are online sharing child porn.

Because there are so many people sharing child porn, the Department of Law Enforcement is concentrating on the worst offenders who are collecting or sharing the most files.

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