A Cybertip helped police bust a Mattapan man accused of raping and trafficking a child online in what authorities are calling a “deeply disturbing” betrayal.
Tristan Reid, 21, “allegedly raped a juvenile, threatened the victim with a knife and filmed the victim posing in the nude over a period of several days,” Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said.
Reid, who is held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing, is charged with human trafficking, statutory rape, indecent assault and battery, posing a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct, assault by means of a dangerous weapon, possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography.
“These allegations are deeply disturbing and speak to the duty that we all have — as parents, caregivers and people of conscience — to ensure that the children in our lives and throughout our communities are safe and have access to resources to end abuse and begin their journey toward healing,” Rollins said.
Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) investigators assigned to the Boston Police Department Crimes Against Children unit launched an investigation into Cybertips received earlier this year on this case.
Cybertips is backed by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
A new federal report out this week on human trafficking says prosecutors in the U.S. filed a record number of sex trafficking cases last year. The 2020 Federal Human Trafficking Report added there are 579 active human trafficking prosecutions today.
Those involve 1,007 active defendants and 1,499 victims.
Out of that, 59% of all online trafficking occurred on Facebook, the report adds.
The authors say the number of cases filed in 2020 jumped 11% following two years of decline. Add to that federal courts convicted the lowest number of defendants in human trafficking cases since 2012. The pandemic has been good for the seamy side of the web.
As Rollins put it in her announcement of the Mattapan man’s arrest, “children are among the most vulnerable victims.” They are easy prey on the internet and social media platforms. Video rules the day and that’s what predators want.
More than a third of case referrals involved a victim who conacted a nonprofit or hotline, which then alerted law enforcement. “Moreover, 88% of the new human trafficking cases in 2020 involved multiagency collaboration in the investigation of the case,” the study adds.
The federal report marks the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which made human trafficking a federal crime.
Those concerned that a child is being exploited online may report a Cybertip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST or www.cybertipline.com.
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