Sextortion, Sexting, and Human Trafficking

human trafficing

The online world can be a dangerous environment especially if we are not aware of its danger. it has become a powerful weapon in the hands of criminals and the technology developments have created an unlimited market for them. Unfortunately, without geographical limits, human trafficking can develop at ease in different, new forms. this makes it harder for perpetrators to be identified and prosecuted. The forms of exploration are more and more diverse and recruitment methods are also subtle and intelligent. Up to now, traffickers use brutal force to recruit their victims. Now this force has changed to manipulation and persuasive tactics advanced marketing and management strategies with superior informatics. The criminals constantly update their methods and so should we. We need to start incorporating the changes in the online world and use them as a basis to protect ourselves and our families. We are the solution if you suspect trafficking don't turn your head get involved (Humelnicu, 2017).

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Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel someone to engage in commercial sex or forced labor or services. This includes all acts involving recruitment, abduction, transport, harboring, transfer, sale or receipt of a person for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude peonage, debt bondage, slavery, or exploitation (WRAL.com).

The internet and advances in technology over the past two decades has made our lives easier and more convenient. Technology now allows parents to return to school and makes it possible for families to stay in touch around the world. The concept of human trafficking or sexual exploitation is not new as seen in the early history of Egypt and the Roman Empire.

Pre-teens being forced into arranged marriages were common then and unfortunately, this practice is still perpetrated in many Islamic countries or communities. According to the author, it has been estimated that human trafficking and sexual exploitation bring in approximately $150 billion dollars a year. With this kind of profit, it is very easy to see how smuggling humans bring in more money than drugs.

In an effort to protect children from becoming victims of this issue, parents are encouraged to monitor their phone apps (applications) and who they are texting. In addition, parents need to be more proactive in monitoring what places their children visit on the computer; including blocking certain sites like many school libraries has done.

Once identified, it has been difficult for law enforcement to stop them as the ringleaders change locations frequently and some law enforcement groups seem to want to wait until they have solid evidence and unfortunately by then the perpetrators have moved them again. Phone apps such as whisper,ask-fm, blendr & grindr, KIK messenger, omegle, poof, yik-yack, tinder and snapchat all make it very easy to allow predators to remain anonymous and some even allow users to send pictures to others. And parents need to be aware that social media websites including Facebook can make it easy for predators as they can employ a security feature that only allows viewing of the contents to members of the site (Morris, 2017).

This article used was originally written for WRAL.com by Project NORest and the University of North Carolina. Films often portray human trafficking as something that happens only to people from other countries, in dark urban back alleys, or dirty motels. In actuality, it hits much closer to us all. Human trafficking, both sex, and labor trafficking is happening in alarming frequency in North Carolina.

According to National Human Trafficking Hotline there were 181 human trafficking cases reported from North Carolina in 2016. According to a research professor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Social Work, that number broke down to 131 sex cases and 41 labor cases. In addition, the National Human Trafficking Hotline, NC falls in the top 10 states (of the nation) in the number of trafficking reports. In the past 10 years, they have identified nearly 2,700 victims of human trafficking in the state.

But even those numbers fall far short of the number of actual trafficking cases happening in NC since human trafficking can be difficult to identify and many victims do not self-identify as trafficking victims. NC has collaboration between disciplines like law enforcement, case managers, social workers, school personnel, non-profits advocates and others to help victims. For minors under 18 years of age trafficking also includes any case in which the minor is made to perform commercial sex acts; coercion or not (WRAL.com).

There are many applications that can be installed in computers inviting people to take part of the internet, especially children. When discussing mobile phones, internet and social media usage by children. There has been a huge increase in access to the internet as more children and young adults have access. One issue noted with trying to monitor web use is the gap of understanding between parents and their children. This gap makes it easier for perpetrators to have contact with the children by enabling them to hide their time online or the places they visit.

Many parents were unable to change the privacy setting on their computers depending on their children for this task. And they were not familiar with the term cyberbullying. One line friendships need to be monitored, especially those who are online only friends. It is too easy for a person to set up a fraudulent account on social media.

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The author also found that there is a trend of sexting among adolescents. Sexting-the combination of sex and texting originally was used to describe spicy or sexually suggestive text messages. Not it includes not just text messages but includes pictures as well. Showing one’s body voluntarily to someone isn’t a problem in of itself. But it can’t be forgotten that when images and videos of a sexual or pornographic nature are transmitted then it is considered the production of pornographic material. Sexortation is being blackmailed by the girls' partners to send explicit content. Or they are told if they don’t comply the partner will make previous images public (Grasseri, & Cortesi, eds. 2015).

Sexting, the practice of sharing personal sexual images via phone or digital communication, can be seen as sharing pornography. Recent studies have shown that girls who are victims of privacy violations often face sexting, victim-blaming, and slut-shaming. To help address these issues these practices need to stop. It is from these types of reactions that result in women not reporting this problem.

Media has not helped women to feel willing to step forward. Sex offender registries are of the assumption that sexual offense reveals an individual’s inherent underlying pathology. Victims of privacy violations in the US lack effective options to address the harm they have suffered. Many victims are primarily concerned with removing their private images from public websites and getting them out of circulation. This can be difficult as not all websites have sufficient privacy policies unless the victim is under 18 years and it is termed child pornography. Except for that case US websites are not legally obligated to remove private sexual images. Many incidents go unreported or under-reported in part due to the fact of inadequate laws and victims being blamed for being a victim. A change in perception must be made. Most victims are looking for validation and accountability of the offender. But this needs to include perpetrators of offenses taking active responsibility and giving a sincere expression of regret (Hasinoff, 2017).

Recent advances in information extraction and knowledge base construction technology especially using techniques like word embedding. Shutting down these sites face many challenges with some of them include human trafficking advertisements deliberately obfuscate (to throw into shadow, make obscure; to confuse) key pieces of information like names and phone numbers to avoid automated search, indexing, and discovery.

Social media like Twitter, the language model in human trafficking is non-traditional using words, phrases, and slang that impair the performance of traditional extractors. Automatic reliable information extraction is hard in such domains. Illicit domains tend to frequently exhibit such heterogeneity. And while geolocations like cities are not obfuscated, they become problematic in their ambiguity. Example, Charlotte can be a city in NC or a persons’ name; there is a Los Angeles in both CA and TX.

In practice, the constraints are able to successfully deal with noisy candidates and candidate classifications by using exclusivity and feasibility constraints. The model they devised also allows them to encode other pieces of geographical information and stuff like city population that are clearly important in the real world when identifying geolocations in the face of uncertain information. This system can be utilized to systematically extend to other semantic items like name and nationality. Early experiments on some other semantic types important for human trafficking have shown promise (Kapoor, Kejriwal, & Szekely (2017).

Work Cited
Grassei, U. & Cotesi, S. (2015). Digitally connected: Global perspectives on youth and digital media. Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

Hasinoff, A.A. (2017). Sexting and privacy violations: A case study of sympathy and blame. International Journal of Cybercriminology,11(2).

Humelnicu, I.V. (2017). The newest online threat. AGORA International Journal of Administration Sciences,1(1).

Kapoor, R., Kejriwal, M., & Szekely, P. (2017). Using contexts and constraints for improved geotagging of human trafficking websites. ACM Guide to Computer Literature.

Morris, M. (2017). The Impact of advancing technologies upon global human trafficking and sexual exploitation in society today. Utica College, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

WRAL.com (2016). NC among top 10 States for Human Trafficking. Project NO Rest. Spotlight WRAL.com

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Comments

I live in NC and was shocked to find we were 10th in human trafficking. This is an issue the requires our attention and vigilance with our children as they surf the internet; on their phones or computers.