Gov. McMaster signs pledge to beef up fight against child exploitation online


COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – The number of people arrested for sexually exploiting a child online has only increased over the years. And the spike has prompted many local and state law enforcement agencies to execute sting operations to catch the predators.

But now the state is showing its support and partnership in the fight against child internet crimes.

South Carolina is the first state to sign of pledge of this kind. The “Children’s Internet Safety Governor’s Pledge” encourages the state to be more proactive in fighting the sexual exploitation of children online.

The Internet Crimes Against Children task force arrested 210 people last year for sexually exploiting children online. Putting them behind bars is a priority for many law enforcement departments, who have developed their own ways to catch the predators.

“We’ll get on these media sites and we’ll act like somebody we’re not and then we’ll get contacted by these men who want to have sex with a child. We’ll meet up with them and arrest them, ” said Sheriff Leon Lott of Richland County.

On Wednesday, Governor Henry McMcMaster signed an internet safety pledge, vowing the state does its part to protect our children.

“We know that our children are our most important asset. We’re taking the lead to raise the awareness consolidate all of our power determine what other things can we do that have not yet been done and we will do them all.”

The governor said this conversation will involve all parties including law enforcement, children and parents.

The Greenville County School District is already having these conversations. Rick Floyd with information security explained the district’s involvement.

“We reach out to kids community groups with age appropriate conversations to let the kids and parents know the dangers of online and how to protect them.”

Sheriff Lott added, “Kids have to be aware the person that you are talking to may not be the person you think it is it may be a monster.”

The pledge also encourages the state to examine the public health impact of child pornography of the youth.

Governor McMaster is asking other states to jump on board.

The pledge also asks for businesses to consider filtering their pubic WiFi for things like child porn .

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