The Internet & Cell Phone relationship with Human Trafficking

Still in denial that human trafficking occurs on American soil? Well, it's time to put away that notion and face this very harsh and cruel reality. During 2017, 361 defendants in criminal human trafficking cases saw their charges resolved. Some were convicted of a federal crime, while others were acquitted by a jury or saw the court dismiss the charges against them. Federal courts convicted 95.3% of the resolved defendants, acquitted 1.1% of the resolved defendants, and dismissed charges against 3.6%.

Sex trafficking of minors has the highest conviction rating of 98.2%. The courts sentenced 94.7% of the defendants to some term of imprisonment in 2017, while the remaining 5.3% of sentenced defendants received no term of imprisonment. Seven life sentences were handed down by the court system in 2017, six of which were in sex trafficking cases involving only child victims and one in a sex trafficking case involving both adult and child victims. 

Federal courts ordered 19.9% of the defendants in 54 human trafficking cases to pay restitution to their victims. This represents a slight increase from 2016, where courts ordered 18.2% to pay restitution.The number of victims involved in a criminal human trafficking case is difficult to identify for several reasons- public court documents often identify victims of substantive human trafficking charges using initials, pseudonyms, or "Jane/John Doe" to protect the victim’s privacy. In other charges, such as conspiracy, victims may be grouped together without identifying a specific number. Therefore, the number of victims that public court documents identified are often only a subset of the actual number of victims exploited. 

Commercial sex that is internet based occurs when a defendant’s primary method of soliciting customers for sexual services was through an online website or social media platform. The websites disclosed by the public court documents in 2017 criminal cases included:

A Plus Bunnies, Adult Friend Finder, Adult Hookups, All the Lovers, Backpage, Body Rub Lists, Call Escort, CityVibe, Craigslist, Date Hookup, Eccie, Eros, Erotic Mugshots, Erotic Review, Escorts Click 2 Call, Escorts Forever, Escorts Jiji, Escorts Meet, Escort Profile, Escorts Xport, Evil Empire, Executive Companion, Explicit Chicago, Facebook, Friends 4 Rent, Grindr, Independent Girls, Instagram, Kendra of Atlanta, KiK Messenger, MeetMe, Miss Scarlet White, MocoSpace, MyRedBook, MyProvider, Pinger, Platinum Companions, Plenty of Fish, Seeking Arrangement, A Sexy Service, Skip the Games, Tagged, TNA Board, Whats AppWhisper & Yahoo.

Are any of these apps downloaded on your child's devices? Do you know if your child visited any of these websites? Given all of these facts, isn't it best to start applying more protective measures towards our children and their cell phone usage? To read more of the detailed Federal 2017 report, please click HERE. This information has been provided by Val Senegal, Education Director of Hearts of Hope.