Post in evidenza

Supreme Court of India Orders To Block Rape Videos

In a very welcome move, the Supreme Court of India is acting against the publication and dissemination of rape videos

domenica 18 agosto 2013

Internet enables child porn, prostitution

Last week, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Richmond announced that Robert Kropp of Colonial Heights was sentenced for coercion and enticement of a minor under the age of 15 and for receipt of child pornography. According to the news release, in March of 2013, "Kropp used his cell phone to send text messages and make telephone calls to engage in sexually explicit conversations with an individual he believed to be a 13-year-old female." (It was actually an FBI agent.) He was arrested at a hotel where he believed he was going to meet the child and pay her for sex.
Last month, the FBI announced it had completed its seventh Operation Cross-Country - a three-day, nationwide enforcement action focusing on underage victims of prostitution. The massive sweep involved FBI offices and police departments in 76 cities across the nation.
This year, 105 children, mostly between 13 and 17 years old, were rescued (the youngest victim was 9). Since the FBI first launched the initiative in 2003, more than 2,700 victims of child sex trafficking have been rescued. Incredibly, that number represents only a tiny sliver of the victims of this sordid crime.
Most Americans regard child prostitution as something that happens in other countries. But it is very much a growing problem here. The U.S. Attorney's Office calls the crime a "growing epidemic."
Child prostitution is the most depraved side of the rapidly burgeoning nightmare of human trafficking. According to UNICEF, the 1.2 million children who become victims of human sex-trafficking each year account for about 27 percent of this modern-day form of slavery.
In the U.S., the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that of the nearly 800,000 kids reported as runaways each year, about 100,000 are likely to become victims of sex-trafficking and child prostitution.
The average age at which American minors are forced into the trade is between 12 and 14. The vast majority of involved minors are girls - unwanted children or runaways from dysfunctional homes. Most were sexually abused as young children. Some of these young prostitutes are foreign and brought here as slaves to be sold to the highest bidder.
Life is grim for these young children. Ten to 15 customers per day is not unusual. They are subject to malnourishment, rape and sexually transmitted diseases. It is little wonder that for these teens, life expectancy on the street is about seven years.
Not surprisingly, child prostitution numbers are especially high in cities that have large tourist and convention industries. The FBI has identified Atlanta as having one of the highest rates of child prostitution in the country. Because of California's large immigrant population, extensive ports and huge metropolitan areas, cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland have some of the highest rates of child sex trafficking. But the problem exists throughout the nation, in cities and towns large and small.
Even in Richmond , child sex-trafficking has become a real issue. In the past two years, the local FBI office has been directly involved in at least 10 separate occasions of female victims of child sexual exploitation.
Thanks to the Internet and cell phones, the business of prostitution has gone high tech. According to an FBI agent with the Richmond bureau, prostitution has "evolved from street-walking, to escort services in the yellow pages, to now, Internet-based prostitution." No longer does a pimp need to have obviously-too-young girls hustling on the streets. Today he can easily advertise her wares online.
What accounts for the epidemic growth of the crime? The expanding problem of child prostitution goes hand-in-hand the exploding popularity of online pornography. Just how big a business is online porn nowadays? It's huge and getting bigger every day.
According to an April 2012 news story in Bloomberg Business Week, "The online porn kingpin Xvideos feeds 4.4 billion page views per month. That's about 10 times as many as the New York Times and three times as many as CNN.com. YouPorn ... notches 2.1 billion page views per month. And while people spend a few minutes per day on news sites, they tend to spend 15 minutes or more on porn sites."
Porn has evolved from something once regarded as secretive and sordid, consumed by troglodytic men and teenage boys in dark basements, to a worldwide, almost-chic entertainment industry.
Many consumers of porn argue that it is a harmless pastime. Members of the adult entertainment industry are quick to point out that it is protected under the First Amendment. Porn stars are often portrayed as fun-loving, edgy and legitimate actresses (think Jenna Jameson).
But that's not the case for the vast majority of women who are forced to participate in pornographic videos. Finding - and forcing - women to participate in these films is one reason sex-trafficking is growing so rapidly. Countless numbers of young women - mere girls, often - are forced to participate in filmed sex acts that are aired across the Internet without their permission. Viewing online porn is not harmless consumption.
Because of the unlimited online access to millions of children and the ability to download sexually graphic images of children in the privacy of one's home, the Internet has been a dream-come-true for pedophiles. Before the days of the world wide web, obtaining child pornography was a difficult and dangerous endeavor. Today, the widespread availability of online material and the relatively low-risk ability to download it has emboldened these pathetic excuses for humans and created a growing nightmare. Children are being exploited in horrific fashion and at ever-younger ages.
What can the average citizen do? Urge lawmakers to stiffen the penalties for those who consume child prostitution and child pornography.
The Richmond FBI office suggests that citizens "support law enforcement and their efforts to make things difficult for suppliers and consumers. Children cannot operate as prostitutes without the assistance of adults who furnish hotel rooms, transportation, condoms, food, telephones, etc. Law enforcement has a multi-faceted approach to address these issues, one of which is to work closely with hotel personnel in the area. Hundreds of hotel employees have been taught by law enforcement how to recognize the signs of adult and juvenile prostitution, becoming another set of eyes and ears in the community and quickly notifying law enforcement."
On a personal level, protect your own children. Know where they are and what they are doing. Get to know their friends and monitor their Internet use (for that matter, monitor your own Internet use). Stay informed and aware.
If you know a runaway, urge her or him to get help. Last year alone, the crisis hotline 1-800-Runaway (www.1800runaway.org) fielded more than 15,000 crisis calls. It will only be through the involvement of private citizens working hand-in-hand with authorities that we can ever hope to exterminate this horrific crime.

Internet enables child porn, prostitution August 18, 2013


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