Agents pose as teens online to nab child sex traffickers

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COWETA COUNTY, Ga. —

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is taking Channel 2 Action News inside a new operation to crack down on child sex trafficking. The new effort is focused on preventing the crime.

Traditionally we hear about children being rescued out of these horrific situations.  

“I called him up on the phone he was definitely interested. He even asked on the phone, again how old I was, to which I stated I was 15,” said GBI special agent Renea Green.

Green is not 15, but she played a teen to nab a Coweta County man.

Last week, Christopher Griffin was convicted of criminal attempt to commit child molestation.

“I don’t think there is any other job more important than this: protecting our children and that’s what it’s all about,” Green said.

“We are determined to investigate all angles of child sex trafficking including the demand side,” said GBI assistant special agent in charge Brian Johnston. ”The demand side are people that are purchasing children for the purpose of sex.”

The GBI’s child exploitation and computer crimes unit is leading the charge to put a huge dent in child sex trafficking. Since 2011, agents have rescued 41 kids and arrested 23 people, including Griffin.

Channel 2’s Erica Byfield learned officials met Griffin on Backpage.com.

Geen said the 35-year-old DeKalb County man told her something odd on the phone.

“He proceed to tell me that the legal age of consent in Georgia was 16 and that a man could go to jail for 20 years,” Green said.

“It’s a warning, it's a warning for all those people who are out there and take the initiative to look for someone to have sex with, to pay to have sex with,” Johnston said.

Griffin was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

GBI agents worked with the US Department of Homeland Security and the Coweta County District Attorney's Office on this case.