The Role Technology Plays in Child Sex Trafficking.

By Ted Mwai

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Source: blog.compassion.com

When the word slavery comes to mind in the present day most people think of it as something that does not exist, an issue that has passed, a long and tragic historical ‘evil’ event that involved the capture and exportation of human beings who are forced to work for a long time with no freedom of movement or choice. Slavery paints a forcible deportation of Africans in the new world, which is then associated with colonization and first-hand money making schemes, like any given cash crop, be it Tea, coffee or sugarcane. At least 30 million people are victims of human trafficking, 80% are men and women and more than 50% are children. Yet, the authenticity of the situation is that slavery is alive today, and on an even greater scale than it did a century ago.

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Source: http://www.slideshare.net

Child sex trafficking is a serious matter that I have interest in, not as a master, or a slave, but from a change point of operations. But how can this be stopped or prevented in a growing digital era?

Sexual victimizations are serious crimes that affect a significant percentage of youngsters – children and adolescents. A nation-wide study of youth (2 – 17 years) revealed 2% had experienced sexual harassment in the past year and 5% in their lifetime. In 2009, the overall violent crime victimization rate for teenagers (12-15 years) was more than twice the average general rate. In addition to being sexually abused and assaulted, targeted victims are treated as merchandises and used for monetary and economic gain. Child sex trafficking crimes include illicit networks make money from trafficking adolescent victims for sex, but also overlap with the relatively more common crimes of juvenile prostitution which translates to making, sale and distribution of child pornography.

Much social activity is migrating to the Internet, so it should not be astonishing that this is true for crime in general and commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking in particular.  This means that efforts to prevent and prosecute these crimes need to migrate to the internet and other technologies as well.  These efforts are however still in their early phases, and more research and practice is justified to develop enhanced methods to identify and scrutinize child sex trafficking in all its forms.

Research on child trafficking is almost non-existent, and summaries of case characteristics and ways that new technology is involved in such cases must rely on legal reports and media stories. These stories suggest that child trafficking criminals and those facilitating juvenile prostitution are making use of online resources.  The Internet provides a way to advertise escort services and massage parlors to a wide audience.  Adolescent girls may be marketed in such places alongside adults. Technology may provide an efficient means of reaching obscure target audiences, including immigrant groups that may be the focus of pedophiles looking for access to very young children, people with extreme sexual tastes (e.g., sadism, bondage, bestiality); and those interested in child pornography.

Sex traffickers believe that technology offers ways to hide their activities, e.g. encrypting communications and picture files and using wireless technologies that may be difficult to trace to specific locations. Unlike years ago where victims were lured in the street, traffickers can now message thousands of people through Instagram, Facebook, Instagram, Tagged and Twitter, with WhatsApp and Snapchat some of the latest tools.  They may also use technology to make connections with other offenders, by networking among pimps or child pornography rings, or for business aspects of trafficking such as online banking and ordering clothes and other goods for victims.

 

Sex traffickers believe that technology offers ways to hide their activities, e.g. encrypting communications and picture files and using wireless technologies that may be difficult to trace to specific locations. Unlike years ago where victims were lured in the street, traffickers can now message thousands of people through Instagram, Facebook, Instagram, Tagged and Twitter, with WhatsApp and Snapchat some of the latest tools. They may also use technology to make connections with other offenders, by networking among pimps or child pornography rings, or for business aspects of trafficking such as online banking and ordering clothes and other goods for victims.

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Source: adsoftheworld.com

To battle traffickers, experts say more children should be targeted in public awareness campaigns through social media, and vulnerable children encouraged to speak to trustworthy people.

Facebook said its users are encouraged to report content that violates its policies, including any connected to human trafficking, while teenagers are given additional safety and privacy features on their accounts which block public searches.

Snapchat has guidelines on staying safe online, and a trust and safety team to deal with reports of abuse. It said it works closely with Thorn, an organization which provides technical innovation to fight the sexual exploitation of children.

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Published by

Blandina

Currently pursuing a masters degree in Mass communication with Digital communication at USIU. My passion is I love writing, watching TV i love soap operas huge fan of Days of our lives and The Bold and The Beautiful, reading novels, hanging out with my friends. Family is very important and I believe that education is knowledge, people should always do what's right for them and follow their passion.

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