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Intercept bots targeting people soliciting sex in Pasco County to help stop trafficking

Intercept bots will target people soliciting sex
Posted at 2:14 PM, Jul 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-09 18:39:58-04

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Pasco County authorities are sending out a warning: If you are looking to buy sex online, especially from those under age, beware.

Intercept bots are the new technology helping the Sheriff's Office combat online solicitation of sex.

Instead of timely sting operations with actual people posing as sex workers, the fake ads actually go to bots who can message back and forth with those soliciting sex. 

The bots then collect all the information from the sex buyer and send it to law enforcement.

Data collected by the bots may have the sex buyers name, phone number, address, place of employment and more.

They will eventually send a warning back to the solicitor.

Pasco County is the first area in Tampa Bay to use this system as part of the Trafficking Free Zone program. 

The program targets sex buyers through advertising and social media campaigns. The program claims to have 99% accuracy.

Other components include search ad campaigns to gather information on all local websites selling sex.

Messages to support potential victims are also sent using phone numbers of sex workers collected from ads.

There is also a deterrence website detailing the harm that comes from buying sex. Local resources and contact information are available to encourage sex buyers to get help.

For more information, click here.