People ask me that all the time -- and here's my standard answer:
"If you want to stop child trafficking, then stop watching porn."
100% of children you see in porn are trafficked. No child willingly and knowingly signs up to be in a porn video. They are forced, lured, or tricked into it.
Last week the US government announced one of the largest online child exploitation investigations in the history of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Operation Round Table shows the dramatic connection between child porn and child trafficking:
- The investigation found 251 minor victims in 39 states and 5 countries.
- 243 of the victims were male.
- 8 were female.
- The website had more than 27,000 subscribers.
Please note the ages of the victims:
- 159 victims were 13 to 15 years old.
- 59 were 16 and 17.
- 26 victims were 10 to 12.
- 4 victims were 7 to 9.
- 1 victim was 4 to 6.
- 2 victims were 3 years old or younger.
I include their ages to help answer another question I'm asked frequently:
“How in the world does that happen?”
For the answer, let's ask the (now-arrested) primary administrator of this (now-defunct) child-porn website. Jonathan Johnson, 27, of Abita Springs, Louisiana, admitted to creating multiple fake female personas on popular social networks to target and sexually exploit children and admitted to coaching other child predators in his inner circle to do the same.
Yes, that 12-year-old girl whom your daughter is chatting with on Facebook might not really be a 12-year-old girl.
"Our agency is seeing a growing trend where children are being enticed, tricked and coerced online by adults to produce sexually explicit material of themselves," says ICE Deputy Director Daniel Ragsdale. "While we will continue to prioritize the arrest of child predators, we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. Education is the key to prevention."
Can you hear me cheering?
At Born2Fly, our warcry for years has been "prevention, prevention, prevention." We can rescue all the kids we can, but at the same time if we don't cut off the supplyline of kids, we'll ever end this horror. "Education is the key to prevention."
If you haven't already downloaded our free anti-trafficking curriculum for kids and teens, please do so asap. Just go to www.born2fly.org where you can register. Once we receive your application (and make sure you're not a trafficker yourself) we'll send you a link and password to download whatever you need.
And next month Born2Fly will announce a special new resource designed to teach middle- and high-school kids about staying safe online. Watch this space...