Altoona (WQOW) - A local advocate said the pandemic has brought forward a lot of information and misinformation about masks and human trafficking.
Cat Jacoby, the public relations and program coordinator of Fierce Freedom in Altoona, said she's read many posts on social media claiming that wearing masks will allow children to be abducted and trafficked more easily.
Jacoby said this belief is operating under the assumption that trafficking is mainly about abduction when in most cases, predators go online, grooming the child to trust them over time.
She added the problem has gotten worse during the pandemic with more kids bored at home, turning to apps to feel human connection.
"The amount of child pornography that's being produced since the pandemic has happened has gone up astronomically. Some of this is self-produced so kids are even just looking for love and attention and likes online so a predator is going to come in using social media or other means to make that contact," said Jacoby.
Jacoby said one of the best things you can do as a parent is to let your children know nothing they do will make you feel ashamed or not love them.
Fierce Freedom recently made a video for teens on what it looks like to be groomed, trafficked, and exploited. Click/tap here to go to their website to watch "Dear Diary Video - Teens."