POSTED: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 11:30am
UPDATED: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 11:34am
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Parents across the US worry about many things when it comes to their children's safety. But many, like Josie Sewell say even though they police their children's online activities heavily, internet safety is always a huge concern.
"There are a lot of predators out there who prey on children online specifically," Sewell said.
That’s where the high tech crime unit comes in, in the state of Louisiana they're responsible for investigating and gathering the forensic evidence needed to tackle this growing trend.
"The United States is the leading producer of child pornography in the world. They estimate about 55% of the child pornography in the world comes from the United States," John Bosco, with the High Tech Crime Unit, explained.
With statistics like that, those in the High Tech Crime unit know that the overwhelming majority of people may not understand just how grave the situation has become.
"Until you're on the ground floor with it and see it day to day, it's hard to understand the extent of the problem and exactly what's involved,” Bosco said, “the overwhelming majority of the images and video we come across are of children being abused and tortured."
But the hours spent working these cases, no matter how rewarding the end result, take a toll on the team.
"Being a father myself, of a four year old, it's really difficult to go home and put that behind you and go on, life as usual, and make dinner. And wake up and come and do it again," Cory Bourgeois, also with the High Tech Crime Unit, said.
So why do it? The men and women who work in the unit explain that at the end of the day, putting just one predator behind bars is worth it. And though they work tirelessly to catch these predators, they're convinced with more manpower their arrest record would skyrocket.
"I know there's more people out there. It’s just a matter of getting the manpower out there to get to them," Bourgeois said.
Worldwide there are only 3,000 people specially certified for this line of work, nine of those specialists work right here in Louisiana.