New technology to track online sex predators

Thanks to a large donation, Polk County Sheriff's Office Investigators will be trained on how to use state-of-the-art technology to track online sex predators.

Lakeland-based Givewell Community Foundation presented the Child Rescue Coalition - a Boca Raton non-profit dedicated to safeguard children from sexual exploitation - with the $10,000 check that will be used to help the sheriff's office arrest online offenders.

"We're proud to be a non-profit that can serve the Polk County area," Givewell Community Foundation President and CEO Terry Simmers said.

Bill Wiltse, executive vice president of the Child Rescue Coalition, demonstrated how their technology works.

"This is real data flowing into our database this very second," he said, standing in front of a large screen.

On it, hundreds of dots popped up in countries and cities around the world. Each dot represents a real-time look at the number of people looking for or trading child porn online.

"This is happening all over the globe, and our charter, our mission at Child Rescue Coalition is to stop it," Wiltse said.

Working with law enforcement, the Child Rescue Coalition helps to find people in possession of internet child porn through IP addresses and intricate and secret software.

Wiltse could not explain how the technology works because that would tip off the offenders on how to avoid detection.

Over the past three years, the Child Rescue Coalition helped convict more than 6,000 child predators, and 1,000 abused children have been rescued because of the technology.

"What would our attitude be today if we were standing before you and saying there are the terrorists that are actively planning to enter a building and shoot 14 innocent people to death. What would we be doing?" Sheriff Grady Judd questioned rhetorically. "Well, I'm telling you, ladies and gentlemen, those are the terrorists after your children to damage them for life."