(The AEGIS Alliance) – Officials have reported that two men from Florida were taken into custody for their involvement in child sex trafficking after allegedly seeking out minors for sexual activity on social media. Moises Escoto, who worked as a youth pastor at Iglesia de Cristo Misionera Mahanaim Church, and Joel Lutz, a registered foster parent, were both arrested in connection with the child sex trafficking investigation carried out by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, FOX 4 Southwest Florida reported.
The human trafficking team of the Sheriff’s office initiated the investigation following a mother’s report of finding disturbing content on her 16-year-old’s phone. The investigators found that Escoto had contacted the victim two years ago through a chat and meetup app called Sniffies. Since then, he has been soliciting sexually explicit photos and videos in exchange for money and gifts. Additionally, Escoto had been secretly meeting with the victim and engaging in sexual acts. He was taken into custody on February 9th.
Furthermore, the investigation revealed that Lutz had also engaged in sexual acts with a minor whom he found on the Sniffies app in exchange for money. Lutz was apprehended on February 15th at his workplace at Outback Steakhouse.
“It is absolutely disgusting that these two men, who were placed in positions of mentorship and trust with children in our community, used online apps to seek out and victimize our youth,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister.
He continued and added, “Unfortunately, we know that predators are constantly on the hunt to ruin the innocence of our community. I urge parents to know where and what their children are doing online at all times. We will not stop searching for these deviants wherever they may be, and we ask for parents and the community to help us protect our precious children.”
Escoto and Lutz are both facing multiple charges related to their alleged involvement in child sex trafficking for commercial sexual activity. These charges include the lewd or lascivious battery, use of computer services or devices to solicit certain illegal acts, traveling to meet a minor after using computer services or devices to solicit certain illegal acts, use of computer services for lewd or lascivious exhibition defendant over 18, the transmission of harmful material to a minor, unlawful use of two-way communications device, unlawful sexual activity with a minor, and other similar offenses. The authorities have not released further details about the specific charges that each of the accused is facing.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.