“Extraordinary innovation” saves lives
FBI agent honored for software creation
Special Agent Greg Ryman, a member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Manassas, Va., field office, received a national award in late May for his creation of a software program to help identify and locate victims of child prostitution. Since its inception, the software has helped five victims, including a 15-year-old girl who was taken from her Virginia group home in July 2007 and advertised online for sexual purposes.
“This is a pretty extraordinary innovation here,” said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “He saved lives with this software, and I think it will help save more.”
Ryman received the award during the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s 14th annual congressional breakfast on Capitol Hill.
The program Ryman created is an analytical tool that gathers numerous pieces of information to track down and identify missing children. Allen said that once Ryman created the program, it took less than a day to find the 15-year-old girl and the man who was trafficking her. The man arrested pleaded guilty in December and is waiting to be sentenced.
Allen said the software is already in seven FBI field offices. It will also be a useful tool for the Innocence Lost National Initiative, which combines the efforts of the FBI, the center and the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.
The initiative was established in 2003 to address the growing problem of domestic sex trafficking of children in the United States, according to the FBI’s website. More than 575 children have been rescued, and more than 300 people accused of exploiting children through prostitution have been arrested because of the initiative, the website says.