Internet Safety and Child Trafficking

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With the growth of internet use around the world, about 2 billion people using the internet in 2010, the internet has become a facilitator of trafficking. Traffickers use the internet both for recruiting youth and for advertising services.

Grooming, Enticement, and Recruitment Online

Traffickers can groom and recruit youth to become victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation through use of mobile phone apps and online websites. Often these interactions may begin as seemingly benign chats in which the trafficker befriends and gains the youth’s trust, friendship, or love. Most social gaming, apps, and websites have the capability for direct or private messaging by others who use the same site or app. Some of these examples include:

  • Online gaming – World Of Warcraft, League of Legends, Minecraft, etc.;
  • Social Media Sites and apps – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.;
  • Messaging apps – Kik, WhatsApp, Whisper, etc.;
  • Chat rooms – Omegle, etc.;

How to Keep Youth Safe When Using the Internet:

  • Monitor internet use of the youth, including phones and apps;
    • Check their “Friends” lists and who they are contacting and encourage them to remove anyone they do not know or trust;
    • Make sure they understand what personal information is, and to be sure not to post it.are not posting personal information
    • Help them make their account private
  • Vett internet sites and apps that youth want to use and know how they work;
  • Talk to youth about online safety;
  • Encourage youth to report inappropriate posts or pictures to the website or app;
  • And tell children to report criminal behavior to the police.

 

Considerations and reminders for youth interacting with apps and websites. How to advise youth on appropriate internet and app use:

  • Think about how different sites work before deciding to join a site. Some sites will allow only a defined community of users to access posted content; others allow anyone and everyone to view postings.
  • Keep your information to yourself. Don’t post your full name, Social Security number, address, phone number, or bank and credit card account numbers — and don’t post other people’s information, either.
  • Be cautious about posting information that could be used to identify you or locate you offline. This could include the name of your school, sports team, clubs, and where you work or hang out.
  • Post only information that you are comfortable with others seeing — and knowing — about you. Many people can see your page, including your parents, your teachers, the police, the college you might want to apply to next year, or the job you might want to apply for in five years.
  • Remember that once you post information online, you can’t take it back. Even if you delete the information from a site, older versions exist on other people’s computers.

Be wary if a new online friend wants to meet you in person. Before you decide to meet someone, find out what you can about the person: Ask whether any of your friends know the person, and see what background you can dig up through online search engines. If you decide to meet them, be smart about it: Meet in a public place, during the day, with friends you trust. Tell an adult or a responsible sibling where you’re going, and when you expect to be back.

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