As reported by the BBC, Amber Rudd has said that ‘tech companies need to do more to combat the exponential growth in child sexual exploitation online’.
With a surge in the use of the internet in recent times, sex traffickers have also been using the medium to target unsuspecting and vulnerable teenagers and youths for their personal financial gain. It’s been on the increase and in fact, the FBI has marked it as the second largest crime after drug trafficking. Sex is always in demand; so, you can imagine that it is a profitable industry, which isn’t coming to an end anytime soon.
Rudd’s comment on the subject matter comes with a new figure which shows that there is a 700% increase in obscenities displayed through images on technology companies which have been reported to law enforcement agencies between 2013 and 2017.
The popular tactics employed by sexual predators include luring vulnerable victims into a relationship, manipulating them to leave their homes and thereafter trapping them. In many cases, they are deceived with romance notes and empty promises of a big job or a better life.
The sex predator can be anyone- an employee, an acquaintance, a family friend, a lover or just anyone and in many cases, they disguise themselves with a fake social media account before using their tactics to hunt down their victims.
The BBC reported that there are more than 400 arrests for cases as this and for obscene images of children in the UK and about 500 children have been protected so far from these predators. Although the tech companies have said that they are doing everything within their power to keep unsuspecting users safe, Rudd says that ‘they need to work with smaller platforms used by child gamers where pedophiles operate’.
The issue will be further discussed with the US government, joined by tech companies including Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. According to the Rudd, everything that has been done to tackle the menace is good enough; however, more work needs to be done across the technology industry at a greater pace. She said:
‘We’ve seen the real growth of child sexual exploitation internationally and we’re going to make sure that we work with the Americans to take action against it. We need to make sure tech companies put their technical know-how into addressing it.’
Online sex trafficking is not limited to social networks. Instant messaging apps are also involved in the campaign against the menace. The secretary will also raise concern about them at the meeting with other tech giants.