The FBI’s St. Louis division includes a Child Exploitation Task Force with law enforcement from 14 different agencies – making it the largest of its kind in America. Supervisory Special Agent Daniel Netemeyer tells Missourinet the task force members work full-time investigating children who are exploited through things like sex trafficking, pornography, sextortion and enticement.
“Over the past several years, we’re generally among the nation’s leaders in child recoveries, arrests and indictments across the board relating to crimes against children,” says Netemeyer.
The task force has recovered 20 exploited children so far this year.
“There’s never a better success story other than when you can return an abducted child or a missing child to a parent’s arms. That hits both the professional and personal aspect of it,” says Netemeyer. “To be able to do that is very rewarding.”
Netemeyer says the task force has about 120 child exploitation cases open at any given time.
“A lot of this not a whole lot of fun. The investigators are constantly out there looking at things and doing things they’d prefer not to be doing, but they understand that it’s for the greater good,” says Netemeyer.
Most sex trafficking victims are females, but Netemeyer says males have also been advertised for sex.
“They get the same attention. A juvenile is a juvenile, whether they are male or female,” says Netemeyer.
Truck stops and hotels are common places for sex trafficking incidents to occur, but Netemeyer urges people not to rule anywhere out. He says the public’s help is critical when investigating any crime, especially those against children.
There are 63 Missourians listed in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s database. To view the database, click here.