“It’s not the white van anymore.”

"It’s not the white van anymore."

There’s not a lot of information out there about this story, but it’s still worth mentioning.

A 16-year-old girl escaped from her sex trafficker in South Fulton, Georgia back in February. South Fulton is just outsiode of Atlanta. The victim was said to have been introduced into trafficking at the age of 14. The girl had been beaten but escaped her captors and went to police.

Police have arrested 22-year-old Ashanti Coles. Coles allegedly used social media to groom the girl and lure her into a sex trafficking operation that involved several men. Coles has been charged with aggravated battery, strangulation, rape and cruelty to a child. Investigators believe there may be more victims.

South Fulton Police Captain Marcus Dennard is a man to be commended because he used this opportunity to educate people about the realities of child trafficking.

“Sex trafficking, human trafficking and kidnapping it’s your neighbor next door that just turned 19, you know they are people you went to school with that you would never think are involved in these behaviors,” Dennard said.

“It’s not the white van anymore, it’s the Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook,” the captain said.

He’s absolutely correct. Traffickers look for child targets on social media. Any kid who’s complaining about problems at home or school on social media is a prime target for a trafficker. The traffickers promise these kids lives of wealth, fame, and family to get them away from any support structure they might have. What kid doesn’t want to be rich and famous? And if a kid lives in an abusive situation, even leaving with a stranger might seem like better circumstances.

You may trust your children on social media, but you can’t trust every one else that’s out there. A lot of those people have ill intentions that could involve your child.

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