Alicia Kozakiewicz (born March 23, 1988) is an American television personality, and internet safety and missing persons advocate. Kozakiewicz is the founder of the Alicia Project, an advocacy group designed to raise awareness about online predators, abduction, and child sexual exploitation. She is also the namesake of "Alicia's Law," which provides a dedicated revenue source for child rescue efforts. Kozakiewicz has joined the television network, Investigation Discovery (ID), to educate the public on, and effect change for, issues such as Internet safety, missing persons, human trafficking, and child safety awareness education.
At the age of 13, Kozakiewicz was the victim of an internet luring and child abduction that received widespread media attention. Her story and message have been chronicled on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, CNN, MSNBC, and the A&E Biography Channel. She has been the subject of an award-winning PBS internet safety documentary, "Alicia's Message: I'm Here to Save Your Life," as well as, the Emmy award-winning "Alicia's Story" produced by Enough is Enough. Kozakiewicz has been featured in numerous national and international publications, such as People and Cosmopolitan.
Kozakiewicz has addressed Congress on the issue of internet safety for children and Federal child rescue funding.
Video Alicia Kozakiewicz
Abduction and rescue
Kozakiewicz had corresponded online with someone she thought to be a boy of her own age--actually Scott Tyree a 38-year-old man who lived in Herndon, Virginia--who approached her in a Yahoo chat room. Over the course of nearly a year, Tyree groomed the 13-year-old Kozakiewicz. The Kozakiewicz family computer was located in the family room where internet activity could be monitored, but Tyree often contacted her at night while the rest of the family was asleep.
On New Year's Day in 2002, Tyree lured Kozakiewicz into meeting him near her Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, address. He coerced her into his vehicle and then drove her back to his home in Virginia. Over the course of 4 days, she was held captive, shackled, raped, and tortured in Tyree's basement dungeon. Tyree filmed the abuse and broadcast it online, live via streaming video for others to witness. A viewer in Florida recognized Kozakiewicz from news stories and a missing persons flier from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. He contacted the FBI, anonymously and via a payphone because he feared being charged as an accessory to the crime.
The FBI, using the Yahoo username they had learned from the anonymous tip, found Tyree's IP address and hence his street address, at a townhouse in Herndon. When FBI agents stormed the house on January 4, 2002, Kozakiewicz feared that they were men Tyree had sent to kill her. At 4.10 PM on January 4, 2002, agents freed Kozakiewicz. Tyree was arrested half an hour later at his workplace in Herndon.
After her rescue, Kozakiewicz was examined at a hospital and released to the custody of Fairfax County Child Protective Services. Her parents, Mary and Charles Kozakiewicz, were unable to take a commercial flight to reunite with their daughter due to the heightened media attention. They were privately flown to Virginia by the FBI on the following day. In the aftermath, Kozakiewicz has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and significant memory loss. Much of her life leading up to the abduction is difficult or impossible to recall. She has used counseling as a treatment method. As an adult she said that in 2002 people found it impossible to understand how this had happened and she had been groomed; they mostly blamed the victim, although some people were supportive.
Maps Alicia Kozakiewicz
Advocacy and education
One year after her abduction, at the age of 14, Kozakiewicz founded the Alicia Project. The Alicia Project is an advocacy group that raises awareness and provides education on topics such as internet safety for children, the prevalence of online child predators, and abductions. Kozakiewicz has shared her story at numerous schools and conferences, despite acknowledging that speaking about the incident can be triggering.
In 2007, she testified before the House Judiciary Committee in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of internet laws to protect children. She successfully lobbied for the passage of the Protect Our Children Act of 2008 and has been lobbying alongside PROTECT for the passage of Alicia's Law in state legislatures. Alicia's Law provides a stream of state-specific funding to the Internet Crimes Against Children task forces (ICAC). In some cases, state and local agencies are able to pull finances accumulated from misdemeanor and felony convictions, while others employ mechanisms such as unclaimed lottery funding. This money is used for training, task forces, research, and rescue efforts for law enforcement agencies seeking child sexual exploitation victims. Alicia's Law has been passed in 11 states, including Virginia, Texas, California, Hawaii, and Idaho. Kozakiewicz will advocate for its passage in all 50 states.
Kozakiewicz's work has been acknowledged by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children who honored her with the Courage Award in 2007. She was also honored with a Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2009. Kozakiewicz has trained the FBI National Academy, offering insight as part of the "Youth Violence: Victims and Perpetrators" program. In 2013, Kozakiewicz joined the Distinguished Speaker Series at the Clinton School of Public Service. Her 2008 book, an OJJDP publication, You're Not Alone: The Journey From Abduction to Empowerment, is a survival guide for recovered abduction victims.
Recently teaming up with the Investigation Discovery network, Kozakiewicz provides insight on internet safety and awareness. Currently, she is an Airline Ambassadors International Human Trafficking Awareness trainer and spokesperson, teaching airport personnel to recognize and report the signs of human trafficking. She earned a BA in Psychology at Point Park University, and as of 2014 was working towards her master's degree in forensic psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
- The Alicia Project
Source of the article : Wikipedia