Online Exploitation of Children
Helping Create a Culture Free of Modern Day Slavery
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THE EPIDEMIC OF ONLINE EXPLOITATION AND OUR CHILDREN
“Trauma bonding occurs when a person develops positive feelings toward their trafficker. This typically occurs when the trafficked person has been isolated and controlled by a trafficker or other abuser, feels threatened or unable to escape, or has experienced sporadic acts of kindness from the trafficker. Trauma bonding is more often found in situations where trafficked persons see their trafficker as a lover or partner. Trauma bonding may result in the trafficked person trying to appease their trafficker.” – Department of Criminal Justice, British Columbia 2014
Online Exploitation During COVID-19 Pandemic
- 70 Percent Of Child Sex Trafficking Victims Are Sold Online: “People are posted and sold online multiple times a day, “Asia, a survivor of sex trafficking, told Thorn. “As far as the ad that was posted up [for me] … just [like] you can go find a car, there was a picture, and a description, and a price.” – Thorn
- The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has documented a 106% Increase in Child Sex Abuse Material Since March 2020.
- The total number of files made available by offenders to one another across several prominent dark web forums increased significantly during the period March to May 2020. In one case, the number of files made available increased by almost 50 % and in another case, it almost doubled (Europol).
- The Dark Web is a term that refers specifically to a collection of websites that exist on an encrypted network and cannot be found by using traditional search engines or visited by using traditional browsers. Almost all sites on the so-called Dark Web hide their identity using the Tor encryption tool.
- Internet Watch Foundation reported almost 9 million blocked attempts to access CSAM in April in the United Kingdom alone. In some countries, this is matched by an increase in the number of reported CSAM offenses, such as online solicitation and sextortion.
Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or trafficking.
Children and young people can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or by someone they know — for example a family member, friend or professional.
Groomers may be male or female. They could be any age.
Many children and young people don’t understand that they have been groomed or that what has happened is abuse.
- Stage 1: Targeting the Victim
The offender targets a victim by sizing up the child’s vulnerability — emotional neediness, isolation and lower self-confidence. Children with less parental oversight are more desirable prey.
- Stage 2: Gaining the Victim’s Trust
The sex offender gains trust by watching and gathering information about the child, getting to know his needs and how to fill them. In this regard, sex offenders mix effortlessly with responsible caretakers because they generate warm and calibrated attention. Only more awkward and overly personal attention, or a gooey intrusiveness, provokes the suspicion of parents. Otherwise, a more suave sex offender is better disciplined for how to push and poke, without revealing themselves. Think of the grooming sex offender on the prowl as akin to a spy — and just as stealth.
- Stage 3: Filling a Need
Once the sex offender begins to fill the child’s needs, that adult may assume noticeably more importance in the child’s life and may become idealized. Gifts, extra attention, affection may distinguish one adult in particular and should raise concern and greater vigilance to be accountable for that adult.
- Stage 4: Isolating the Child
The grooming sex offender uses the developing special relationship with the child to create situations in which they are alone together. This isolation further reinforces a special connection. Babysitting, tutoring, coaching and special trips all enable this isolation.A special relationship can be even more reinforced when an offender cultivates a sense in the child that he is loved or appreciated in a way that others, not even parents, provide. Parents may unwittingly feed into this through their own appreciation for the unique relationship.
- Stage 5: Sexualizing the Relationship
At a stage of sufficient emotional dependence and trust, the offender progressively sexualizes the relationship. Desensitization occurs through talking, pictures, even creating situations (like going swimming) in which both offender and victim are naked. At that point, the adult exploits a child’s natural curiosity, using feelings of stimulation to advance the sexuality of the relationship.When teaching a child, the grooming sex offender has the opportunity to shape the child’s sexual preferences and can manipulate what a child finds exciting and extend the relationship in this way. The child comes to see himself as a more sexual being and to define the relationship with the offender in more sexual and special terms.
- Stage 6: Maintaining Control
Once the sex abuse is occurring, offenders commonly use secrecy and blame to maintain the child’s continued participation and silence — particularly because the sexual activity may cause the child to withdraw from the relationship.
Children in these entangled relationships — and at this point they are entangled — confront threats to blame them, to end the relationship and to end the emotional and material needs they associate with the relationship, whether it be the dirt bikes the child gets to ride, the coaching one receives, special outings or other gifts. The child may feel that the loss of the relationship and the consequences of exposing it will humiliate and render them even more unwanted.
What About Prevention?
- Keep the computer in a high-traffic area of your home.
- Establish limits for which online sites children visit.
- Remember that Internet technology can be mobile, so make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices, and laptops.
- Surf the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.
- Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for social networking, instant messaging, e-mailing, online gaming, and using webcams.
- Have continual dialogue with your children.
2020: Cryptocurrency Statistics
Cryptocurrencies use decentralized technology to let users make secure payments and store money without the need to use their name or go through a bank.
IRS traced bitcoin transactions on Dark Web site “Welcome to Video “the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content.
By analyzing the blockchain and de-anonymizing bitcoin transactions, the agency was able to identify hundreds of predators around the world – even though those users thought that they could remain anonymous.
Crypto Capital accounts were seized in Backpage sex-trafficking bust. Backpage allegedly used a host of crypto companies to clean its cash, including Crypto Capital.
According to Forbes
The largest dark web child pornography site in the world was taken down by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), together with the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom and Republic of Korea at a joint press conference announcing arrests and forfeitures.
According to the IRS-CI, agents became aware of Welcome to Video, the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content, because of their work on previous dark web marketplaces. The dark web, also referred to as “Darknet,” refers to content that you don’t typically access through regular internet browsing activities.
IRS-CI was able to trace bitcoin transactions on the site to people all over the world who were uploading and downloading this material, as well as find the location of the site administrator. By analyzing the blockchain and de-anonymizing bitcoin transactions, the agency was able to identify hundreds of predators around the world – even though those users thought that they could remain anonymous.
The website is among the first of its kind to monetize child exploitation videos using bitcoin. Here’s how it worked: each user received a unique bitcoin address when the user created an account on the website. Those accounts could be used to pay to download the videos. An analysis of the server revealed that the website had more than one million bitcoin addresses, signifying that the website had the capacity for at least one million users.
The data from the seized server was shared with law enforcement agencies around the world. This has resulted in leads sent to 38 countries. In addition to Son, 337 site users residing in 23 states (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington State) and Washington, D.C. ,as well as the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil and Australia have been arrested and charged. Two users of the Darknet market committed suicide after the execution of search warrants.