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Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking with Kevin Metcalf

Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking with Kevin Metcalf

Update: 2021-08-04


Children go missing, exploited, and trafficked everyday. It takes investigators, prosecutors, and private sector technology specialists to help them. Misinformation and TV portrayals can impact our resources that are directed to help.

Today’s guest is Kevin Metcalf. Kevin is a former federal agent turned prosecutor and the founder of The National Child Protection Task Force which brings together recognized experts in the field such as strategic legal applications, open source intelligence, cellular mapping analysis, dark web investigations, and cryptocurrency to help law enforcement agencies everywhere. He has undergone training provided by the National Computer Forensics Institute, the National White Collar Crime Center, and the FBI Cellular Analysis Survey Team, among others. Kevin developed a system for working with cell phone related data in criminal cases that developed into a mobile device foundational course that focuses on the integration of legally-derived information with open source information. Kevin has also published a series of instructional books available on Amazon.

Show Notes:

  • [1:26 ] - Kevin shares his background and how starting the National Child Protection Task Force was not something he initially thought he’d do.
  • [2:20 ] - As a single parent, Kevin left his job in law enforcement, went back to school, and became a prosecutor.
  • [3:58 ] - As he was led into working in social media and cell phones, Kevin realized how often he was working on cases that had to do with children.
  • [5:11 ] - Kevin describes the case that got him national attention and how it led to him working with experts that wanted to come together to help more kids.
  • [7:01 ] - Chris notes the gap between law enforcement and the technology that is available. Kevin is trying to bridge that gap.
  • [8:00 ] - How does Kevin deal with the “CSI Effect”?
  • [9:57 ] - There is a lot of misinformation regarding human trafficking. 
  • [10:52 ] - It is very challenging to convict someone for human trafficking due to little information and the victim not being forthcoming with details out of fear.
  • [12:19 ] - Most of the time they are able to convict for something else, like drugs or gun charges, which does at least get the person in jail without putting the victim through testifying again.
  • [13:34 ] - There are a lot of psychological factors involved for victims even years afterwards.
  • [14:55 ] - Kevin’s organization works with missing, exploited, and trafficked children. He explains the difference between exploitation and trafficking.
  • [16:49 ] - Children who are missing and runaways are at higher risk of being exploited and trafficked. 
  • [17:51 ] - There is a huge problem with missing children investigation or lack thereof. Predators are aware of this and take advantage.
  • [21:21 ] - There are so many problems with statistics that Kevin doesn’t know what questions to ask.
  • [23:18 ] - Kevin feels that there are two categories for children, missing or not.
  • [24:04 ] - Kevin lists some of the things that put children at risk, including parents trying to control everything.
  • [27:35 ] - During the grooming process, predators are looking for the weaknesses in a parent-child relationship. Mental health issues also add another level of vulnerability.
  • [31:10 ] - The NCPTF is composed of active duty law enforcement. Kevin explains following the rules of the jurisdiction they’re working in.
  • [32:51 ] - Although there are some controversial tools used to investigate these cases, Kevin describes how to prevent breaches in privacy.
  • [35:04 ] - “You have to understand the limitations of technology. If you don’t, you’re going to misuse it, screw up an investigation, and arrest the wrong person.”
  • [36:19 ] - Kevin explains the algorithms used for facial recognition, especially using the face of a child.
  • [38:43 ] - An investigator needs to follow up on every hit used with facial recognition.
  • [39:59 ] - Kevin describes how the NCPTF hones their technology skills.
  • [41:38 ] - Predators are using information willingly posted on social media to harm others.
  • [42:51 ] - It is difficult to make politicians and policy makers understand how bad the situation is and what is needed to prosecute a predator.
  • [45:00 ] - Newer privacy laws make it difficult to use technology to identify a human trafficker.
  • [46:51 ] - Using these technological resources for minor infractions is a waste of time and money. They should be used for the major things.
  • [49:27 ] - It is important to not tip predators off with what they are using to identify them. Sometimes photos and videos will allow investigators to determine their location.
  • [51:14 ] - A lot of people don’t realize how easy it is to find their information.

Thanks for joining us on Easy Prey. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and leave a nice review. 

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Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking with Kevin Metcalf

Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking with Kevin Metcalf

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