In a story reminiscent of the movie “Taken”, a father goes on a mission to rescue his daughter from the clutches of sex traffickers.
Executive turned detective
John Clark, an energy executive from Houston, turned into a detective as he used his own resources to track down the men who lured his daughter into sex trafficking.
Photo from: wikimedia commons
At around April of this year, Clark’s 18-year-old daughter went missing. Worried for her safety, he immediately sprung into action; he hired a private firm that helps to rescue kidnap victims, he consulted experts, and he event went and bought a 1-800 number so that he can get tips to her whereabouts.
Eventually, they found her whereabouts and tracked them to an apartment building in Houston, where the pimp pleaded guilty to prostitution of a minor.
“Groomed” on snapchat
According to Clark, his daughter was “groomed” on snapchat by her abductor. They first had contact on snapchat when she was 16, and he was in his 20s. Later on, they met at a party and she disappeared soon after.
She was a childhood cancer survivor and was still studying in high school when she disappeared.
Clark shares in an interview with KHOU, “It’s nothing against the police… they’re set up to slowly, methodically build an airtight case, and in the time it would’ve taken to build an airtight case, I would’ve lost my daughter.”
He also said that it was hard for him to share his story.
“If it was up to what I want, I wouldn’t talk about this,” Clark shared with The Daily Beast. “It’s difficult to go through and emotionally draining. But I feel compelled to help other families and keep them from going through what we did.”
He adds, “I’ve got to do something.”
Go to the next page to learn more about how to keep your family safe!
Strengthen anti-trafficking laws
Clark has launched a petition in order to strengthen the current anti-trafficking laws in Texas. The petition asks to increase the age of working in sexually oriented businesses from 18 to 21, and harsher penalties for anyone promoting prostitution if the victim is under 21.
He also warns parents to be wary about the dangers of Snapchat.“It is extremely difficult to monitor effectively and it is used brilliantly by teens trying to escape detection,” Clark shares. “The only luck we had with Snapchat was to literally grab my daughter’s phone unexpectedly… and look at recent communications, but even that had limited effectiveness.”
With more and more apps making it easier for people to get connected, it’s very important to understand how these social networking apps can be used by online predators. Here are some more tips to make sure that your kids are using snapchat safely:
- Users can be blocked on Snapchat – This is useful if your child is being bullied or harassed by anyone on Snapchat.
- Any misuse or abuse of the app can be reported – If your child tells you that he or she has received inappropriate or offensive snaps, there is an option to report that user, on the app itself.
- Snaps can be saved using third-party apps – Snaps on Snapchat last for 24 hours for snaps that have been viewed, and 30 days for unopened snaps. However, third-party apps can bypass this rule. So it’s important for you to talk to your child and make sure that they’re not sending anything private on Snapchat.
- Locations can be shared using the app – Snapchat users can share their location with other people using the Geofilters option. However, it would be best to disable this feature on your child’s app to make sure that they’re not broadcasting their location to strangers.
- Sending and saving inappropriate snaps is trouble – Some teens use Snapchat to share intimate images with each other. With the abundance of third-party apps, and the option to create screenshots, this could potentially lead to cases where compromising photos of kids and teens are shared online.
In general, it’s also important to keep a close relationship with your child. You need to trust them, and they should also know to trust you. It’s also important to know who their friends are, who they’re going out with, and where they are at all times. It might border on being overprotective, but your child’s safety should always be a top priority.
READ: Parents sacrifice everything to save daughter’s life
Source: thedailybeast.com, khou.com, familyshare.com
Be sure to check out theAsianparent Community for more insightful stories, questions, and answers from parents and experts alike. If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Google+ to stay up-to-date on the latest from theAsianparent.com Philippines!