With a click of a mouse, hundreds of colored dots begin to appear in virtually every corner of a digital map a giant monitor.
Each dot represents a computer that’s confessing to police that whoever is using it is watching child pornography right now.
“As this populates the true gravity of how bad this problem is becomes very, very apparent,” said Bill Wiltse, an employee at Child Rescue Coalition.
He’s demonstrating the only software program in the world that can track child predators live online.
It was developed by a group known as The Child Rescue Coalition who invited investigative reporter Cheryl Fiandaca to Boca Raton, Florida to get a rare look at how they use this powerful program.
“So, here’s a computer in Boston. We’ve seen it online as recently as about 15 minutes ago,” said Wiltse.
“There’s a very clear indication of what type of victims this particular individual is interested in. Here’s an 8-year-old. 9-year-old…”
Investigators at the center in Florida are able to see that same computer up in Boston has more than 5,000 files of child pornography in its library.
“It absolutely is an epidemic,” said Carly Asher Yoost, president of Child Rescue Coalition.
“The problem has just gotten to be huge and that’s why we want to get as many investigators as possible using the system because it really is an indicator of who these people are who not only are interested in viewing such films, but likely to be a hands-on abuser.”
The child rescue coalition provides all of the software and technology free to law enforcement.
They say they’re already working with police in all 50 states and they’re also in 57 countries.
And here’s how the software works:
Police from around the country give the coalition information on computer files they’ve uncovered that show children under 12 being sexually abused.
The coalition then tracks those files to specific networks on what’s called the Dark Web, a part of the internet that requires special routers that allows users to remain anonymous and has been a haven for illegal activity.
Once on those networks, the software identifies the computers IP addresses.
With that information, police are able to get search warrants, track down the computer’s location and arrest whoever was using it.
“The internet is the private hunting grounds of pedophiles and child pornographers,” said John Walsh.
Walsh founded The Center For Missing And Exploited Children after his son, Adam, was kidnapped and killed. He says this software is critical to catching pedophiles.
“They’re very hard to catch,” said Walsh. “They know that cops are online trying to solicit them, so you have to go deeper.”
And the newest version of the software does, allowing police to retrieve files that child predators think they’ve deleted.
“We’re staying one step ahead of them by automatically being able to find those deleted files,” said Yoost.
The coalition says in the past five years, its system was directly responsible for the arrest of more than 6,000 child predators and the rescue of more than 1,000 children.
For more information on the work the coalition does, you can visit their website at www.childrescuecoalition.org.
(Copyright (c) 2016 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.