Thursday, March 10, 2011
Facebook and Human Trafficking.
Recently Craigslist came under national scrutiny for its Adult services section after several high profile cases involving the prostitution of minors. A recent study revealed upwards of 75% of prostitutes in New York advertised for potential Johns or contacted customers via Facebook. The dark reality is, that even legitimate sites can make everything easier, closer, attainable. Including child sex.
Last October, FoxNews.com reported, “Facebook is failing to prevent child predators from posting suggestive and potentially illegal photographs of children on its website.” What may have seemed like a somewhat arbitrary and slightly inflammatory accusation has now proved true.
Tulsa’s Chapter Director for Stop Child Trafficking Now, Jason Weis, says graphic pictures are all over the social networking site. A quick search reveals a tiny girl tied up, one partially naked not more than 8 years old, and another little girl posing without her pants.
Then he clicks on the users friends and finds a whole network of potential child predators. "It's obvious, what he's into,” Weis points out a cartoon that’s posted on the users Facebook page and the caption in child’s bubble. ‘"Don't worry I won't tell anyone, Daddy. I promise. It's our secret. What do you think that means?"
He says pedophiles are everywhere, lurking and talking in code. "Look here, ‘13,14,15,16,17’, a taste for women. That's his ages," says Weis. "What I am surprised is that it is here and it is blatant, graphic, full color photos to see with no age restrictions." In his brief investigation Weis says he found hundreds of disturbing pictures of children and potential predators on Facebook. He says, "Pedophiles have made child pornography, rape, bestiality, incest, mainstream on Facebook.”
Facebook says it does not tolerate child porn, “…Facebook takes down illegal material as soon as it is reported to us. In the rare case where we believe content may constitute child pornography, we take down the content immediately, use a sophisticated system to block any further sharing of that content, and actually pull it back from any users who received the content. More importantly, we share the content with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and then report the user to law enforcement."
“We have devoted significant resources to keeping offensive content off of Facebook — we have a robust reporting infrastructure and a large team of professional reviewers who remove thousands of photos a day [emphasis ours] from the site that violate our policies,” says Facebook Public Policy Communication Manager, Andrew Noyes.
And Facebook does police their site, through filters that pick up on terms such as “PTHC” — short for “Pre-Teen Hard Core” which is frequently found in connection with child sexual exploitation. But in a recent phone interview with Facebook spokesman Simon Axten and the company’s chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, the two executives were guided by FoxNews.com to search for the term "PTHC" and then click on the first result, a public group Page called “PTHC,” with 197 members and a post directing users to a video supposedly featuring an 8-year-old boy being sexually abused.
Then, when they clicked on the profile of any of the group’s members, the executives were ushered into a subculture dedicated to using Facebook to traffic child pornography and to target and interact with children. Fox.com reported "The executives were stunned that the group got through their filters, and vowed renewed commitment to purging that type of content from Facebook." And they are having some success.
AIDE, Australia — An international child pornography ring that operated on Facebook has been brought down with the social networking site's support, Australian police said Friday. Eleven people have been charged in Australia, Britain and Canada in connection with the syndicate, which involved people using Facebook to distribute and view graphic sexual images, police said.
It seems nowhere is safe from the reach of these wicked men and woman who profit from every type of sexual perversity and child exploitation. If you see objectionable content on Facebook please report it to Facebook right away using these tips provided by the site:
* Report a profile: Go to the profile and click the "Report/Block this Person" link that appears in the left column below the profile photo.
* Report a photo: Go to the specific photo and click the "Report This Photo" link that appears below the photo.
* Report an Inbox message: View the message and click the "Report Message" link that appears below the sender’s name. Note that you can only report messages from non-friends.
* Report a group or event: Go to its main page and click the "Report" link that appears below the group or event photo.
* Report a Page: View the Page and click the "Report Page" link that appears in the left column below the Page photo.
And check back frequently to make sure the content has been removed and continue to report the abuse until it is removed. Conscientious citizens can be the difference for these children. You should also report child porn to the FBI and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children online here or call 1-800-THE LOST.
Thank you for remaining vigilant, for speaking out, and for never being silent while children's lives are being destroyed.