Advances in technology and the Internet have allowed us to stay connected anywhere, anytime. We at GoSummIT are big champions of mobility and the benefits it has for businesses and their teams. We have also educated our partners about the dangers of these advancements including the threat of cyber security attacks. We however, would like to highlight another threat that doesn’t steal data or kidnap your computer with ransomware. This threat is a major international business that steals and holds children ransom.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, including National Human Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11. We would like to take this opportunity to help raise awareness about modern day slavery including human trafficking, sex trafficking, forced labor, involuntary servitude, forced marriage and debt bondage, both locally and globally. One of the most effective ways to fight trafficking is by educating people to recognize the signs of trafficking and reporting potential cases. We sat down with International Justice Mission Orlando team leader, Crystal Brunton to talk about cyber sex trafficking and learn about how we can make a difference.
Modern Day Slavery
My name is Crystal Brunton and I serve as the International Justice Mission Orlando team leader. International Justice Mission is the largest anti-slavery organization in the world. They work in many different communities around the world and depending on the community that they’re working in the work looks a little bit different. It’s interesting; slavery is one of those things that a lot of people don’t talk about anymore, outside of the historical context that we learn about in school. I remember being in school and learning about slavery and the sorted history of our country and slavery, and as a child thought I would do something differently. If I lived in that day and time, if I lived in that time period I would have stood against slavery. I would have been one of those people who fought against it. What’s interesting is that more slavery exists today than ever before in recorded history. Over 27 million slaves exist today…and a lot of people A: Don’t know that fact and B: Don’t really know what to do with that fact. It doesn’t make us feel good. It’s sort of a fact we want to run away from and not think about and not look at.
The Dark Side of the Internet
So when we’re talking about technology and the Internet a lot of people can agree that the Internet has been a really incredible thing for our society and for people around the world. Unfortunately, good things can often come with a dark side and the dark side of the Internet would definitely be cyber trafficking and the problems that cyber trafficking has caused in the international community as well as here within our nation. Previously, we could go into a brothel and rescue the children and arrest the offenders. Cyber sex trafficking is a whole different ball game because now you have a crime that is very mobile. It can be captured on a cell phone anywhere. Family members are tricked, often times by friends of the family or by relatives of the family who say: “I will take your child to the city and because of the intense poverty, I can get them a good education, a good job and we’ll send the money back to you.” What ends up happening is, it’s just all a big trap. So a child will be taken from their home and sent to a big city and there the child will be forced to work in a small home with many other children. They’ll be forced there into the cyber sex industry.
We Will Not Tolerate This Anymore
The perpetrators are Americans, they’re British, they’re from all over the world and I think one of the things that is going to be key in deterring more crimes of that nature is prosecution. That’s the only way to get the message out, that we will not tolerate this in our society. We’ve rescued one year olds from these brothels. And it is….it’s horrifying. There is a war against our children today. There is an outright war against children and we have to be the ones that decide this is not going to happen in our generation anymore. We have to be the ones that are vigilant in fighting this heinous crime.
If you see an advertisement, if you get an email from someone, if you hear of friends entering into chat rooms and going into places online and something just doesn’t check out, something doesn’t seem right, that is the point where you have to start letting the authorities know. We all have to do our part to make sure that children are safe. That is what matters because everyone is capable of doing something. Sometimes it’s making a phone call, sometimes it’s giving money, sometimes it’s helping raise awareness, sometimes it’s advocating on behalf of those who have no voice themselves. We all have something that we can do.
For more informationI would encourage you to go to IJM.org. It is a fantastic resource. See if there is a team in your local city that you can get involved with. Help us advocate. Help us strengthen the laws that are already in existence and continue to get them funded so that when word is out that a child is being exploited or a child is being abused we can then work with local authorities and take the children from that environment. Rescue them, restore them in a safe and loving environment and hopefully the goal is to take them back to their family, if the family is a safe place for the child, to restore them back to their family.