The Correlation Between Human Trafficking & Internet Usage Among Minors

In 2019 – just in the state of North Carolina – the number of Cyber Tips received by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force were 4,930 for the year. In 2020 children were sent into virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic and by year’s end, that number nearly doubled. By March of 2022, the number shot to 18,332.

According to Kevin Roughton, Commander of the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force:

“Back in 2020 there was this thing called COVID that happened. Just to go back historically from that, in 2018 we received 4,200 Cyber Tips, and in 2019 we received 4,900. Okay, well that kind of makes sense; when technology increases it expands a little bit, there’s a few more. What happened in 2020 was unprecedented because it, not quite, but nearly doubled. COVID hit and we took most of the people that were working and we put them virtual, and we took all the kids that were in school and we put them virtual, and so everybody’s online. And, literally, we probably had more people online at the same time then ever before in the history of the world. So, you would expect when that happens that there’s going to be more crime on the internet. There’s going to be more Cyber Tips, Cyber Crimes, more impact on the internet crimes against children because you’ve got all these kids that are doing virtual schooling, and learning more about that, and you’ve got everyone else online, as well. What we didn’t expect was going into 2021, how that would just continue to go up. And by the end of last year, most people were back at work, and really for the most part, most all kids were back in school, but our numbers continue to go up. And if you look at the last couple of months of 2021, you’ll see that they were the biggest months out of that. But really the shocking thing beyond that, was coming into 2022. It’s like we’ve just hit overdrive.”[1]

human-trafficking-internet-usage-correlation

Though there are no hard numbers on the amount of children trafficked in the United States today, we do know that most children of trafficking cases know their offenders.[2] We also know that early porn exposure leads to negative effects on children’s behavior.[3]

At the “A Critical Dialogue About Our Children & Technology Seminar” in 2022, Childrens Trauma Counselor, Shaaron Boyles shared this:

“In the course of my career, I used to work with kids that were at risk of removal from [their] home either because of abuse or neglect. Part of what happened from 1998 to current is that some of the cases that were coming to me from the Department of Social Services are that children had been exposed to seeing someone look at pornography or actually have accessing it. The Department was then trying to figure out who the perpetrator was, because these kids were going and then having issues with problematic sexual behavior, particularly at school. So, it threw me into a situation of trying to understand trauma and the attachment wounding that was happening and also what was happening in our technology that these families and children were having access to [pornography].”[4]

And trafficking doesn’t stop with in-person interactions. In 2021 the Washington Post published an article reporting that, “Nearly three dozen women sued Pornhub… alleging that the firm operates as a “classic criminal enterprise” that profits from content showing rape, child pornography, sex trafficking and other nonconsensual activity.”[5] And just to hit the point home, a 2017 article on Playboy magazine no longer publishing nude and semi-nude photos of women quoted CEO Scott Flanders telling the New York Times, “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”[6]

With pornography use beginning as early as age 9[7], the desensitization and brain trauma that comes from early exposure [8], and the ease with which a person can record and distribute pornography worldwide within minutes[8], we are witnessing a perfect storm of factors contributing to a world where unprepared young people are falling victim not only to the effects of watching pornography, but an inevitable susceptibility to being groomed by predators, or becoming predators, themselves.

The Third Talk® teaches parents how to talk to their kids about avoiding the dangers of online predators, human trafficking, and avoiding exposure to pornography. Now more than ever, parents, we have to have the prevention conversation with our kids. We make a difficult conversation easy and successful. Our success rate is proven by our Parent and Professional Testimonials. We have to tackle this National Health Crisis head-on by making sure our kids are armed with the tools necessary to avoid online dangers.


Let us help:
Parent’s Guide: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/the-third-talk-parents-guide/
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Resources:
1. Commander Kevin Roughton, “A Critical Dialogue About Our Children & Technology Seminar”, 2022: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/a-critical-dialogue-about-our-children-technology-seminar-highlights/
2. “Fact Check-Data showing rise in U.S. human trafficking may hide more complicated picture”: https://bjs.ojp.gov/library/publications/human-trafficking-data-collection-activities-2022
3. Staff reporter, “Five–Year Olds ‘Are Imitating Net Porn,’” Daily Mail (UK), November 20, 2009
4. Childrens Trauma Counselor, Shaaron Boyles “A Critical Dialogue About Our Children & Technology Seminar”, 2022: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/a-critical-dialogue-about-our-children-technology-seminar-highlights/
5. Washington Post, 2021 “Pornhub profits from rape, child pornography and sex trafficking, dozens of women allege in lawsuit”: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/06/18/pornhub-lawsuit-rape-child-porn-sex-trafficking/
6. “Parenting in the Digital Age of Pornography”: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/parenting-in-the-digital-age-of-pornography_b_9301802
7. 11 Young Adults talk about early porn exposure and their subsequent addictions: https://www.thethirdtalk.org/young-person-testimonials/
8. Kühn, S., & Gallinat, J. (2014). Brain structure and functional connectivity associated with pornography consumption: The brain on porn. JAMA Psychiatry, 71(7), 827-834. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.93: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24871202/

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