SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Weeks ago, Sarasota Sheriff Tom Knight updated and released a list of 15 apps every parent should know about. Some well known like Snapchat, Bumble, TikTok. But now he’s adding six additional platforms a group of men used to communicate with children.
Twenty-three men have been arrested in Sarasota County during an operation targeting online predators and human trafficking.
The sheriff’s office says the four-day operation had men ranging in ages from 21 to 77 allegedly responding to internet ads, apps and social media sites. The suspects believed they were speaking to minors, according to the sheriff’s office.
“We’re looking for individuals that are trying to have unlawful criminal behavior with our children. On this case many of the folks that were coming to the undercover house that we have, they believed they were having sex with 13 and 14-year-old children,” said Col. Kurt Hoffman.
Video captured the men, approaching the undercover home with no idea what is waiting for them on the other side of that front door. Detectives continue warning parents following these latest series of arrests to look out for six additional apps: Plenty of Fish, Hily, Mocospace, Zoosk, Best Secret Folder, and Monkey.
“These are apps that we found in the undercover operations that these individuals are using to lure the children,” said Hoffman.
In the meantime, detectives will continue cracking down on this crime.
“This is Operation Intercept VII, we’re going to do as many as we need to do until we get this problem taken care of for sure,” said Hoffman.