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FBI agents fight crimes against children

SALT LAKE CITY — An elite group of FBI agents takes on child predators in an attempt to make sure all children are safe online or on the playground.

At the FBI Salt Lake City Division, Special Agent Dustin Grant coordinates the Child Exploitation Task Force, which covers Utah, Idaho and Montana.

“We spend the bulk of our time working on the internet because that’s typically where we see most of the offenders trying to lure the children or trying to exploit them,” he says in an interview with FBI Confidential host Becky Bruce.

Grant explains child predators find the internet to be an easier way to lure their prey.

“They don’t have to go to parks, they don’t have to go to schools, they don’t have to go to where kids congregate,” Grant says, saying that the risk of arrest or exposure is much less.

That’s why his team puts themselves in the online path of those predators, in hopes that they’ll find an FBI agent on the other end of the computer, rather than a child. But he adds, parents have tools at their disposal to help prevent their child coming into contact with a predator.

“You’ve got to be involved on their online, digital media – their social networking,” Grant says. “What I suggest to parents and to kids as we give presentations… is you have to be involved. You have to, obviously, educate yourself. Be aware that there’s extreme risks when you expose yourself online. For instance, like on a Facebook account, make your accounts, maybe, private and share as little personal information about yourself as you can.”

He also advises parents and children never to “friend” or connect with people they don’t know in real life on a social network or website.

Grant’s unit does much more than look for internet predators. Their focus includes kidnapping cases, human trafficking involving minors, and exploitation. He says the vast majority of these crimes have a sexual motivation.