323 – Tactical Intelligence Analyst’s Role in Online Safety, with Corinne St. Thomas Stowers

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Dr. Sandie Morgan is joined by Corinne St. Thomas Stowers as the two discuss the role that fusion centers play in protecting a community and its children from sexual exploitation and online human trafficking.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers is the Supervising Tactical Intelligence Analyst assigned to the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center. She is supporting the tactical analysis unit, primarily focused on the transnational organized crime and violent crime threats. Corinne has nearly 20 years of experience in law enforcement. She began with Westminster Police Department, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in the Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit, and at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, working child sexual exploitation cases as a tactical cyber analyst. Corrine currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, and a master’s in social work. She was recognized in 2022 by the National Fusion Center Association as Intelligence Analyst of the Year, as well as the Medal of Valor recipient from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for her role in Operation Red Zone, the largest Orange County Law Enforcement proactive human trafficking operation.

Key Points

  • Fusion Centers were established post 9/11 and function as sharing hubs between law enforcement and public and private sector partners. The information shared aids in disrupting threats of online exploitation and human trafficking across the nation.
  • As parents and guardians, it is important to stay educated on the devices and applications that children are using and talk about technology every day.
  • The parameters and boundaries of technology use in a home may change as a child ages and their maturity levels rise, however it is important to continually set parameters and boundaries to keep our children safe online.
  • Parents or guardians may not learn about the dangers their child has faced online until they have already occurred. Because of this, it is necessary to be proactive and take note of changed behaviors their child is exhibiting and relay the information to law enforcement.
  • To access resources and support, visit NCMEC, linked below.



Sandra Morgan 0:14
Welcome to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast here at Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women in Justice in Orange County, California. This is episode #323, with Corinne St. Thomas Stowers. She is currently the Supervising Tactical Intelligence Analyst assigned to the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center. The initials for that are OCIAC, OCIAC. So when we say OCIAC in the rest of the podcast, we’re talking about Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center, and she’s supporting the tactical analysis unit, primarily focused on the transnational organized crime and violent crime threats. Corinne has nearly 20 years of experience in law enforcement. She began with Westminster Police Department, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in the Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit, and at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, working child sexual exploitation cases as a tactical cyber analyst. Corrine currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, and a master’s in social work. She was recognized in 2022 by the National Fusion Center Association as Intelligence Analyst of the Year, as well as the Medal of Valor recipient from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for her role in Operation Red Zone, the largest Orange County Law Enforcement proactive human trafficking operation. Corrine, welcome to the Ending Human Trafficking Podcast.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 2:15
Thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be here.

Sandra Morgan 2:17
I remember the first time you came to a human trafficking class here at Vanguard to teach and guest lecture. You’re still coming, you were in Ensure Justice just a couple months ago. Although this is our first podcast together, I’m thinking we’re going to do this more than once.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 2:37
Oh! I’m so excited to be here. I’ve always been such a huge supporter of Vanguard and the Center, and everything going on here, and it’s just great to be here today.

Sandra Morgan 2:46
Well tell me, to start with, what is a fusion center? As soon as I heard that, I thought it was a culinary art school for Asian/Mexican food chef’s.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 3:02
Okay, yeah! I know, I think fusion centers, we do such incredible work across the nation. To give a little backstory to fusion centers, we were established post 9/11 as an information sharing conduit between local, state, and federal law enforcement, as well as the public and private sector partnerships. So it was a way for us to share information, timely, actionable, information to disrupt threats across the nation. We’re unique here in Orange County in that we have our own fusion center assigned to Orange County. We are the only fusion center in the United States that is assigned to one singular county,

Sandra Morgan 3:39
I did not know that. I keep finding great things we’re doing here in Orange County. So a fusion center then, is like a place where we can understand a broad spectrum of data?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 3:57
It’s really kind of information that is ingested through the OCIAC from different avenues, whether it’s coming from the public or from law enforcement, and it’s analyzed, and then it’s shared with whoever may need to know that type of information. So it could be suspicious activity related to terrorism activity, it could be suspicious activity associated to drug trafficking or any other type of information that we think that there’s some partner that may need to know about that information. We review it, we analyze that information, and then share it with partners.

Sandra Morgan 4:29
In our context right now, and for when you were at Ensure Justice in March, we’re talking about how do we build a better plan for protecting our community and especially our children, from online human trafficking, sexual exploitation, the NCMEC report that just came out, speak to that?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 4:52
Sure. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children does a phenomenal job with reviewing information in relation to a wide variety of topics that are juvenile based, and one of them is exploitation of children with online activity associated to it, because of their exploited children’s division, the information that they have. The report and the information that comes out, really shows the egregiousness of what’s happening with online activity in our kiddos and that the numbers are scary, they’re really frightening. And I always say, take data with a grain of salt. We really look at it as what’s going on online and how do we measure that? I know in our involvement with like law enforcement and reporting, is that there’s a lot of potential criminal activity associated with online activity and our kiddos. As kids are more well versed in applications and information online, and have the accessibility to social media and different platforms, the opportunity for possible criminal activity goes up, and I think those numbers start to reflect that a bit.

Sandra Morgan 5:55
I’m not just a parent, I’m a grandparent, and I want to protect my kids. As I talk to other grandparents, and parents, this is a common concern. When I talk to them, they feel overwhelmed, and they want to understand how in the world they’re going to be able to keep their kids safe, because they learn about one app, and then three more pop up. They go listen to a speaker who has a book, and so they buy the book, but by the time they actually are reading it, they begin to understand that’s last year’s. How do I stay up to date right now?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 6:42
I think that’s such a great question, and I definitely receive similar based questions from the public when I’m talking to parents and guardians as well. The best kind of avenue for dealing with that, because it is so multifaceted, is that if we have the ability to provide devices and kids being on these applications, then the education component for ourselves as adults is really important. So I always encourage, get comfortable with the applications, look at the applications. As an adult, download them on your device, and maybe look and go through them. How do you log in? Or maybe take a look at all their terms of service, and the policies with these applications, and what they actually say, because there’s a lot of information there. I think that’s always a great little practice, is how many of us have actually looked at some of the terms of agreement for the service of some of these applications? In terms of your question of the evolution of applications, one day this one’s really popular, the next day it’s this one, is staying involved with technology. Reading articles, going on the applications and seeing what’s popular and doing the research on this, I think is incredibly important because Facebook has been around for a really, really long time. There’s been applications that got popular that have kind of calmed down a little bit and not as popular. The consistency of applications will stay there. I think it’ll just kind of wave between favoring certain apps versus others. For example, I would argue TikTok is incredibly popular right now, as is Instagram, and Snapchat and some of these other ones. I think that will stay consistent now for a little bit, those are the primary ones, it’s finding out what our kids are using that aren’t so popular. Because kids don’t always tell guardians and parents, “Hey, I’m also on this little app,” and they go, “I don’t even know anything about that application. That’s not one that’s well known.” Going on the App Store and looking at the apps that are being downloaded, and seeing, or proactively looking at the device and clicking on each application and seeing what some of those are. I always say that our kids know so much and we’re always playing catch up with our children, with our with our juvenile and our youth. They are the generation of knowing this. I’m going to date myself a little bit, but while I was working at the Westminster Police Department, I remember speaking with gang detectives, and I’d say, “You know, there’s some criminal information on MySpace,” and Derek was my boss then.

Sandra Morgan 9:23
Oh wow, Derek Marsh, our Associate Director here at the Global Center.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 9:27
Yes! And that was very eye opening for law enforcement to see that kind of information on an application, on a platform like MySpace. It will continue to stay, just educating ourselves, I think is the best route.

Sandra Morgan 9:40
As a parent, I’m listening and I’m thinking, “Okay, so we’re going to shut down all the apps, and that will keep my child safe.” Why am I wrong?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 9:53
Kids will always find a way onto technology, whether it’s in the educational institutions that they attend in their academic careers, it is a part of our everyday. We’re walking around with a computer in our hand at any given point. The minute we limit the accessibility in its entirety, it can be quite difficult to really manage that because a kid’s going to get on a device. I think the conversation lends to how do we prepare our youth? Or how do we talk in communities, about safety and parameters when operating technology and devices, I think could be a more effective route, because then we’re looking at it as we’re educating, and giving the tools, and equipping them to make good decisions as much as possible. If some decisions that are made that are harmful, or damaging, how to report, who to talk to, how to share that information, instead of free range on the application and “good luck.”

Sandra Morgan 10:56
For me, I have to study this. I don’t have enough time to do all of that research. I do have to teach my kids good principles. One of the things that you talked about at Ensure Justice was a digital footprint. You actually made me stop and think, because I realized how I don’t try to protect my digital footprint, and that could actually, when I’m posting, how can that actually put my grandkids at risk?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 11:32
I did say that. I’m glad you heard that. Digital footprint is a concept of, you know, you have this presence on the Internet. You can either have an active digital footprint, or what we would refer to as a passive digital footprint. An active would be, you have a Facebook account, you have a LinkedIn you are openly posting different activities, and maybe you have a blog or a podcast, or things like that, right? So that would be your active digital footprint. Your passive digital footprint is referred to as, what are others posting about you? What are family members sharing about you? But passive can also be you attended a church event and they took a group picture, and then they listed everybody that was at that event. Speaking at Ensure Justice, I didn’t post about myself at Ensure Justice, but maybe somebody took a photo and said, “I’m learning about child exploitation online,” and now, that would be your passive digital footprint. We always have to be cognizant of that and understand for ourselves and our children and our family members, what are our parameters? What are our left and right limits, and vocalizing that in appropriate spaces? The example I give is, I don’t post my children on social media or online, and so I ask family members, please don’t share their faces on social media. That’s something that my husband and I decided on before they were even born. People at the time thought, ‘How can you not?’ I think now the tides have turned and other people do that as well. Vocalizing those concerns or those thoughts, and standing true to that was always helpful, and it has been for us at least. We don’t know what social media is going to be like in 10, 20, 30 years.

Sandra Morgan 13:20
I think when I felt the most challenged is when you started talking about a parent or a grandparent posting ‘Happy Birthday’ greeting, “On this day, 10 years ago, John Joseph Smith was born.” It’s like, you’ve given the full name and the date of birth.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 13:43
Yeah, and usually the area in which they were born too because sometimes that location information is easily analyzed and understood. Sometimes, and maybe with my work experience I have a different lens sometimes, but the oversharing of location information, our personal information, and our kids personal information, it may not always resonate how much we are truly actually sharing on the internet, and how far reaching that can go.

Sandra Morgan 14:12
And we’re just so trustworthy of all of our Facebook friends,-

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 14:16
I know

Sandra Morgan 14:17
-that I don’t know, really very well. I’m rethinking all of this. Where are our kids, based on thinking about their age and the social platforms? Do they move as they develop and go into adolescence and young adulthood?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 14:40
Absolutely. I give the example of, my daughter believes that iPads only work on airplanes. My husband and I kind of give a little fib that they have to connect to airplanes to actually work, and we’re going to ride that until she finds out otherwise. But she’s seven, and that works for us right now. As she ages, that parameter gets changed and modified accordingly, and having those conversations about online activity. As a family, we decide what those parameters are and what that looks like to keep our kiddos safe online, and that can change as they age and to their maturity levels, and their ability to digest some of that. If I had it my way, they would never be on social media.

Sandra Morgan 15:27
Wow. What are some of the risks of kids being online?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 15:34
I would say that there’s always the ability with people that may not have good intentions, or may have criminal intentions, to connect with our kids. We talk about keeping our children safe, of not walking alone on the streets or talking to strangers or approaching vehicles that we don’t know, and unfortunately, there’s individuals online attempting to contact kids to do harm to them, as simplified as I can put it. We have to be cautious of that and understand that. There’s a great video clip that I came across where this girl is in a room and her mom’s saying, “Okay, five minutes, dinnertime, come on downstairs,” and it sounds like a very normal night. All these individuals, these men, are walking into her bedroom one at a time, and they’re standing around her bed. There’s about 10 of them and she’s on her phone. It’s to give the visual representation of, we wouldn’t invite strangers into our kiddos bedrooms, the same thing goes with our online activity and our kiddos. We’re having those safety mechanisms in place to keep our kids safe.

Sandra Morgan 16:36
But kids don’t feel like they’re at risk, they have no fear, and I think that’s one of the pieces that we haven’t figured out. When I was teaching my kids to be safe in leaving the house, I taught them how to look both ways, I made them hold my hand, and they could see the car coming that would hit them if they stepped out in front of it. I think we’re trying to teach kids concern about something coming that they can’t see.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 17:08
I definitely would agree with that. It’s really hard to conceptualize the opportunity for danger with our kids. As some of us knowmin this profession, they may not have the physical development to even understand the ramifications of their actions online. Their brains aren’t even fully developed, their emotions are not developed to that capacity and to that level. That’s why as parents, and guardians, and loved ones, being proactive and protecting them from those applications, similarly to a driver’s license. We would never allow an 11 year old to hop in the front seat of a car and say “good luck. ”

Sandra Morgan 17:49
Yes, we know we need to be concerned, but when do I as a parent, as a caregiver, as a teacher? What kind of behaviors should I be looking for so that I’m not constantly like the helicopter parent? “What are you doing right?” But what are those keys to when I need to actually step in?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 18:12
You know, some of the research shows that you can notice maybe a change in behavior, emotional patterns, the dependency on devices depending on their age, the disassociation from previous activity that they loved and were invested in, maybe there’s something going on. Unfortunately, with certain types of criminal activity associated to online activity, you may not find out until something really bad happens, unfortunately. I’ve talked to many parents that have shared with me, “We had no clue until everything just got laid out in front of us, and that this had been going on for months,” whatever that was. You’re right, the helicopter thing, it’s not always going to work. But nobody knows your kid better than the parent or the guardian, and so those behavior changes may be helpful in indicating that something might be going on.

Sandra Morgan 18:55
We have put a lot of responsibility on the caregivers in a child’s life. What are you doing as an analyst, to keep my kids safe?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 19:18
First of all, I say this often in law enforcement, it is an incredible privilege to get to do the work that I do. I am incredibly humbled to work in Orange County and law enforcement. We have exceptional law enforcement in Orange County, working tirelessly every day to keep our kids safe in different capacities, and the public safe. Law enforcement in Orange County is unique, we are exceptional, we’ve been referred to as the gold standard, that we are on the forefront. We are very victim centered, and not just in human trafficking, but in a lot of our types of crime, and we are up with technology. Talking to law enforcement, not only education, talking to each rather about what’s working and what’s not working, but utilizing technology to help us do our job better, is very well supported. I think that’s been tremendously helpful to help investigators do their job, help analysts like myself do our job better. We have the support here in Orange County for that.

Sandra Morgan 20:19
Let’s look at some of the numbers, the things that you see that come across your screen in a day of work. Let’s look first at CSAM. What is it and how do we stop it?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 20:36
Sure. So CSAM is Child Sexual Abuse Material. As we know, as I know very well, with human trafficking, language matters and choice language is very important when we are referring to different types of elements when it relates to crimes against children. CSAM is a term that can be associated to child pornography, and I would say it’s a very good indicator of what it is, it’s the child sexual abuse production of material, and it’s shared. It can be in video form, image form, livestreamed, things like that. We have seen just an increase in volume of the amount of child sexual abuse material online, nationwide and across the world.

Sandra Morgan 21:18
When you say there’s an increase, instead of 100, there’s 1000?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 21:23
I believe from my last review of the information, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said they reviewed about 25 million images per year of possible Child Sexual Abuse imagery.

Sandra Morgan 21:38
Here in Orange County, you have technology, and when you are trying to protect kids here, do you connect with NCMEC? How do you do that?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 21:52
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children will share information with law enforcement partners, and then those law enforcement partners may reach out to us to ask for assistance when reviewing a case. It may be looking at certain information as it relates to the offender, it could be looking at information of where somebody may be located to help disrupt possible child exploitation, it may also be like a conduit of information sharing. Law enforcement may contact us and say, “Do you guys have a point of contact at this agency? We have something going on there,” and there’s no cold call. We connect to people very quickly and efficiently so that law enforcement can go out and do their job, and disrupt something that may be going on at that location.

Sandra Morgan 22:34
I love using the word disrupt, where this is better than waiting until something happens and trying to rescue/recover all of that. Disrupt. Let’s talk just briefly about the pathway from online enticement to child sexual abuse material.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 22:58
Sure. What we’ve seen the material, through different organizations, support some of this pattern is that these individuals may go online, they find social media associated to a possible juvenile, and it may be open. Maybe the kiddo’s profile is public, or maybe it’s private, but it’ll say, “I go to the XYZ high school, I play club soccer at this location, and I’m from this location,” and the offender may then message the child victim, may send them a possible direct message and start essentially grooming them online, building a trust or rapport with the child victim at that point. That may take shorter or longer depending on the child victim, the possible child victim. Then at some point, the grooming will go into, “Hey, can you send me a picture? Can you just go and take a video?,” and we can have an eight hour conversation about the ‘why,’ an image or a video may get sent. As soon as that video or image gets sent, the offender may say, “Okay, now you’re going to pay me X amount of dollars in a gift card or transfer it to me, and if you don’t, I’m going to share this with your entire school, or I’m going to share this with your faith based groups or your community.” And oftentimes they do, they’ll forward then the images, and at that point, maybe the child victim will then let a guardian, or law enforcement, or a parent know, “Hey, this is going on.”

Sandra Morgan 24:28
We’re talking about sextortion now.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 24:30
Yes. So it starts off as this online enticement of the kiddo turning into sextortion, at that point.

Sandra Morgan 24:37
One of the conversations I’ve been having in the law enforcement and Child Services community, is how that sextortion of kids who don’t have access to any resources has actually morphed into forced criminality.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 24:59
That’s a great term. I know working in human trafficking, on the task force, that forced criminality can be a huge element of both labor and sex trafficking. For example, when they may not have any other option and they resort to different types of crime as a survival mechanism. In this case, I think this is just the exploitation of children, and the opportunistic moment to accept funds from them, extort them for more money. Oftentimes what we see, is that once we identify where this offender may be located, very often they’re located in other countries.

Sandra Morgan 25:38
That’s just unbelievable, to find that a perpetrator may not even be physically near, but they’re threatening physical harm. How do you discriminate between reality and virtual reality?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 25:57
I think the trauma is still the same. I think there’s still emotional and psychological trauma that goes on when extorting a child with sexual abuse imagery in exchange for funds. There’s so much, “Is this my fault? Did I do something wrong? Maybe I had an opportunity of learning, with my parents, about what’s appropriate behavior online. Oh my gosh, look what happened now.” So talking about, this is not the kids fault, this is not their fault, and really understanding that dynamic.

Sandra Morgan 26:31
When I see a newspaper article about this, this is a teaching moment with my kids. This happened to this child, it wasn’t this child’s fault. To make sure it doesn’t happen with you, we’re going to talk about tech every day. That kind of became a hashtag at Ensure Justice: ‘Talk Tech Every Day,’ because kids need to make it a part of their normal conversation with parents, not something they’re ashamed of, and when they have questions they don’t feel comfortable going to parental figures, teachers. We have to create a normalness about that ‘Talk TechEevery Day.’ I’m really horrified because we do keep coming back to Orange County. Listeners to this podcast, this is relevant. We have listeners in 148 countries, but you brought a statistic to Ensure Justice that blew me away. It was one year of commercial sex advertisements associated to possible juveniles, right here in Orange County. I know, from working with child welfare, that we generally have 70, 80, 90 Orange County residents who have been victims of CSEC, which is horrible, but I did not know just how prolific the recruiting is.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 28:15
Yeah, so the numbers here that you see are in relation to sexual advertisements that are all publicly available on the internet. It’s not the dark net, it’s not some secret place on the internet, it’s all publicly available. And it’s a tool to analyze the ability of what is the likelihood that this is a possible kid? Not every single one is a confirmed child or a potential child victim, but I would argue it does shine light on the issue that the problem is everywhere. We have it sitting right here in our backyard, every single day. To look at and see, I’ve had law enforcement and other professionals say that number can fluctuate. Of course it can fluctuate, but if we have one child victim-

Sandra Morgan 29:04
Exactly, I want to do something about it.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 29:05
Right? Yeah, if we have one child victim, I would argue we have the responsibility to help in that capacity. I think that number, again, it can change, it’s an analytic review of a problem, it is not concrete, but it gives the idea that it is here, and that we have it going on.

Sandra Morgan 29:26
For me, when I look at numbers like this, I think of trends. I’m a pediatric nurse is my background. Taking a kid’s temperature, people will say, “Well that thermometer is too old school and this tech is not dependable.” But I know the kid is sick and that’s all I need to know. When I see a number, that in a year in Orange County, there’s 8,795 sex advertisements that may be connected to commercially sexually exploiting a child, I want to do something about it. I think that’s what this calls our community to do. Oh my goodness, there is so much that we can do, and one of the things that I would like you to speak to is how do parents, caregivers, teachers, get better equipped to equip children to self protect?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 30:35
That’s such a great question, and I think it is an incredibly dynamic explanation in the sense of, similarly, the way we’d look at addressing violent crime or a human trafficking case, it’s incredibly multifaceted. There has to be a prevention measure to it. There has to be education, there has to be training, both, to the parent, guardian, loved one, of how to keep our kids safe. There’s so many incredible organizations that have a ton of resources and information. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has fantastic resources as well. Doing the work and learning, and showing up to events that provide some of the exposure to the information, is just incredibly helpful. Having those conversations, having the hard conversations or learning how to have the hard conversations about appropriate behavior online. How do we want to present ourselves having these conversations? You have that element. The other dynamic part of it is that if something were to happen, what information do you have to report it to law enforcement? Who do you report it to? What information would you need to obtain from the child to support law enforcement efforts? Then after the fact, what resources are out there to support somebody that may have been on that journey, or that family that has been affected by sextortion, or online enticement, or child sexual abuse material? There’s lots of organizations that the support doesn’t stop the minute you report it. That’s kind of when the support starts.

Sandra Morgan 32:04
We’re going to put a link to the cyber tip line in the show notes, because that’s a great place to start. Somebody said, “Well, why isn’t there like a hotline?” Because this is online, so you need to report it online.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 32:18
Yeah. I would say if there’s anything going on, always report to law enforcement that information. Your law enforcement partners are there to support and ingest that information, so law enforcement is always a great place to start. The National Center, you can go on their website and report something that may be going on online, and they will then funnel it to the appropriate places as well. There’s lots of avenues to report information.

Sandra Morgan 32:45
If you’re advising a family on how to keep their kids safe, the first place they go is where?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 32:56
NCMEC, I would say. As a former analyst there, they have incredible resources on their website, they have a whole section associated to educating elementary and middle school aged kiddos, they have resources for parents should something happen. They’re just a really great resource for anything in relation to this, but that’s not a silo. There’s, like I said, if you go online and you type in child exploitation nonprofits, there’s quite a few out there that do some incredible work in support of this, but always look into the organization and make sure.

Sandra Morgan 33:34
I know, I know. Let’s make sure that they’re doing what they say. I do love partnering with NCMEC, we had Susan Kennedy at Ensure Justice this last year, and she’s incredible. It was scary because the numbers were startling, but I think that’s where we start. We have to understand that this is not an invisible problem, there are signs and symptoms, we need to take the temperature. That is what I love about what you do Corinne, because you give us those numbers, and it is like taking a temperature, itt’s a trend. You’re not going to be able to show me 8,795 examples of CSEC, but you are showing me that there is a demand. People are advertising, there is a demand to purchase children.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 34:32
That’s such a great point, is the demand side of this. The scary idea that there are individuals looking to follow through on this criminal activity, that are actively engaging with kiddos online where their end goal is to sexually abuse them, is quite frightening.

Sandra Morgan 34:50
We want to be prepared because when we are prepared, we don’t live in fear, but we are cautious. I think there’s a difference between living in fear as a parent, you pass that on to your kids, and being cautious, I think I’m going to start using our conversation from Ensure Justice: Talk Tech Every Day, and that means I’m going to invite you back for another podcast so we can talk tech more. One of the things I want to talk about in the future, is how do we engage middle school and high school kids in more peer to peer prevention? Every time I talk to a group of adolescents, they don’t take it and apply it to themselves. They say, “Oh, I wish you’d talk to my sister,” or “You need to talk to my cousin or my neighbor.” So let’s take advantage of this natural inclination to deflect and “It doesn’t happen to me,” which is part of teen invincibility, but they can keep each other safe, because they don’t think that their sister, their cousin, their classmate, is as safe as they are. How do we build that kind of community? Be thinking about that when you come back next time. You’re coming up on 20 years in law enforcement, and a great deal of it in this particular space, is there anything you’ve changed your mind about?

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 36:36
Changed my mind? I would say I definitely refer to this work as pulling one grain of sand out of the ocean at a time, that’s what it feels like. It can feel quite overwhelming. Even though you’re taking that one grain of sand out of the ocean at a time, that one grain of sand is somebody’s whole world, and so the work that I do is an incredible privilege. As I stated earlier, I’m absolutely honored to even impact one kiddo in my backyard.

Sandra Morgan 37:05
And one kid, like you said, is an entire life, a family, and a community. Wow, eell stated. Well, we’ve been talking about cyber exploitation with Corinne St. Thomas Stowers, we’re going to have her back. If this is your first time to listen to our podcast, go on over to endinghumantrafficking.org. On our website, you can find a link to the show notes, presentations she did at Ensure Justice, and if you haven’t visited the website before, it’s a great first step to become a subscriber so that you’ll receive an email every time a new episode drops, which is twice a month. I’ll be back in two weeks for our next conversation.

Corinne St. Thomas Stowers 37:58
Thanks, Sandie.


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