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More counties now investigating pics of underage girls on social media

At least three counties in Georgia are investigating cases of underage soliciting on social media, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. 12-18-13
At least three counties in Georgia are investigating cases of underage soliciting on social media, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
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Updated: 12/19/2013 11:36 am
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- Several more law enforcement agencies across metro Atlanta have opened cases into online accounts showing nude photos of underage girls.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Gwinnett, Cobb, Rockdale and Clayton counties are now investigating.

A 12-year-old told Gwinnett County police she sent a picture to a 13-year-old boyfriend. She said she believes he then shared the photo that ended up on a public Instagram account.

WSB-TV Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh found there is no shortage of websites soliciting for nude pictures of underage girls.

Channel 2 Action News was the first to notify the GBI of disturbing Instagram and Twitter accounts illegally posting nude photographs of underage girls.

Now, law enforcement agencies across metro Atlanta have open cases into the accounts. Investigators call it a haven for child pornography.

"These young people themselves have got to be aware of the consequences," said Gwinnet County Police Cpl. Jake Smith

In Gwinnett County's latest case, the 12-year-old girl told police she sent two photos of herself "naked from the waist up" to a 13-year-old boyfriend and "no one else."

This week, one year later, the photos appeared on the Instagram page Gwinnett_thots. We have learned "thots" is a derogatory acronym for "those hoe's over there."

"I'm in my late 30s, so for me when I saw the word, I had to look it up," said parent Renita Hamilton.

Like many parents, Hamilton is now getting a crash course in a new wave of dangerous social media.

"I don't want them to think that they should objectify women, especially young girls -- and they are so young," Hamilton said.

Hamilton said her son doesn't think the trend has reached his school, Central Gwinnett High School.

But according to investigators, there are potential victims at several area high schools, like Parkview, Shiloh, Peachtree Ridge and more.

Channel 2 found Twitter posts where the apparent creator of "Gwinnett thots" was soliciting the nude photos via direct message.

"There's something to be said about these young girls wanting this type of attention and there's something that's to be said about these young boys that are encouraging it," Hamilton said.

"When the parents catch up on this most recent lingo, it's going to be different in six months or six weeks. It's a problem that's going stick around if we continue to address the way we are now," Smith said.

If you have any information about who posted the pictures or any other suspected child exploitation, you're asked to call 1-800-THE-LOST.
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