Despite the cultural diversity in the world, there are few common attributes in all the ethnic groups. One of those is the purity and innocence of a child. In all the religions of the world, child is an entity void of evil. Hence, when a child is exposed to an objectionable act, the effect is magnified. A child by legal definition is a person below the age of eighteen, a person between birth and puberty who has not attained maturity. Child exploitation is taking unfair advantages of a child for their own advantage.
It constitutes of many forms such as taking compromising photographs with intent to either use them for own sexual stimulation or dishing them out as pornographic material. Pedophiles The origination of the word is Greek and refers to a person who loves children. The raw and bashful fact of having sexual urges towards a child is the most degenerated form of child exploitation. Pedophiles offences consist of making or possessing child pornography, sexual assault, rape and so forth. Modernization of Communication Internet has seeped into our lives, in almost all facets.
It effectively circumnavigates the effect of geographical distances and facilitates sharing of information. Internet has its benefits for the younger generation, especially children. Youngsters claim that it strengthens friendships, even the detached ones. Others claim that it improves their linguistic qualities and makes them “better students”. General knowledge, itself is the biggest benefit that can be extracted from this media. Child exploitation has been there since time immortial. These crimes never surfaced in a massive scale because of lack of communication and information sources.
Especially the last decade has seen exponential growth in the field of electronic, computer-based communication and information sharing via the Internet, particularly across the Western world. Advent of these modern tools has shrunk the world as we knew it, creating a massive leap in the awareness and know how of a common man. We as knowledgeable people are well aware of the vices being conducted against children. Besides the numerous advantages of Internet, the lurking dangers associated with it have gone unnoticed.
There is now growing evidence that the Internet is a new medium through which some commonly recognized forms of child maltreatment, sexual and emotional abuse may be pursued. Downside of Internet Looking on the flip side of things, rapid technological advancement, growth in the range of Internet services and applications, and the ever-increasing take-up of the Internet have not been accompanied by adequate recognition of the dangers that may result from such technology. The ‘Downside’ of this revolution has resulted in ways of harming and abusing minor Internet users.
Broadly speaking, the Internet has been shown to act as a new medium through which some commonly recognized forms of child maltreatment; sexual and emotional abuse may be pursued. Preventive measures, which generally matched pace, unfortunately, could not keep up by the spread of Internet use and technological advancements. Child sex tourism Before any elaboration let us skim through the meaning of Child sex tourism. It involves people who move around different countries to get engaged in commercial sex acts with a child commit.
The word ‘commercial’ here means the involvement of a huge group facilitating these acts and charging staggering amounts of payment. Clearly CST is a brash attack on the dignity of children and a form of violent child abuse and violence. Host countries There is a mass number of children, close to million annually, who are exploited to the commercial sex trade. Tourist eager in CST generally travels to third world countries. Their basic attraction is staying anonymous and children are readily available for prostitution.
Some factors involved in this are the weaknesses of the law enforcing agencies; corrupt governments, ease of travel and poverty. These factors ensure that the crime is easy to commit. There is no one particular type of these offenders; they come from various social and economical backgrounds. Some respected U. S university professors, retired army sergeants, pediatricians were found involved in child sex tourism cases. CST Victims Children mostly from developing countries are forced in illegal sexual activities. These children are either abducted or kidnapped on the streets or their parents sell them or trade them for money.
The vast majority of victims are trapped in more subversive ways. In some countries, victims and their parents are promised decent well-paid jobs when taken to developed countries. It turns out to be just bait for their families to let their children go with the traffickers, and they end up being sex workers. Money is one of the main reasons why most of the families in developing countries sell their child for sex labor as that one child has to support the whole family. Child trafficking criminals often use online dating and social networking websites to get their victims.
Although time is the best healer, but in this case the effects are everlasting. In most of the countries drugs are used to sedate the victims. The commercial sexual degradation of children has everlasting traumatic effects. They maybe physical or psychological in nature and can cause unwarranted pregnancy, addiction, AIDS, malnutrition, social banishment, and fatalities. Infrastructure of the organization By now the simple question that arises in one’s mind is how CST can continue without the culprits being apprehended.
Sex tourism is a huge industry involving millions of dollars. It also incorporates an international work force of millions. Besides the work force huge bribes are given to Government officials and Law enforcing agencies, which are more than willing to look the other way. It has a complete network of people involved, like travel agents, taxi drivers, hotel management etc. Besides the sex workers who are directly involved in the sexual act, there are some indirect workers as well, like the ones who trap the workers or drug them. There are male as well as female sex workers.
Exact statistics about the quantity of sex workers, their monetary worth, international clients is not known as prostitution is illegal in most of the countries. Increment and Promotion of CST Whenever we talk about the sex industry generally it is the female prostitution that comes into our mind. Although, gross in its own rights, but not as grotesque as involving innocent children. There are few countries where the sex industry is legal but CST is vehemently outlawed universally. There are two basic reasons for out spread of this crime.
One is lack of restriction in few of the countries towards this evil which arouses the urge in many pedophiles to venture into this act. They feel less inhibitive outside the constraints of their home countries. Second reason of the increase in the child sex trade is also commonly attributed to the mistaken impression that younger sex workers are less likely to be infected with sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV or AIDS, although figures often dispute this belief. There has been a phenomenal increase in the commercial sexual exploitation and child prostitution via Internet.
Generally, Asian countries with extreme poverty are hosts to such crimes. An Australian child sex tourist was caught in 1999. He admitted in actively soliciting and engaging in direct sexual practices in over two dozen countries. Then suggestions surfaced that initiation of these crimes started from Internet. Internet facilitators act as middleman between child prostitutes, their location, and the sale and trafficking of children. The most vivacious example is of 600 Sri Lankan children offering their own services. In 2000, Australia took a bold step by evolving a National plan of Action to counter the threat of CST.
Impact of Internet on CST The impact that Internet has provided, in terms of promoting Child sex tourism, has many reasons. Child sex workers are frequently lured into the deal by advertisements for well-paid jobs, travel, and an exciting standard of living. Accessibility of information about sex industry to minors is an open secret. These pornographic images have a lasting effect on the immature minds of the minors, going through adolescence. Some Web sites are open for general public and are easily accessible whereas, some of them require a membership and payments to access their database of photos and messages.
The question that arises here is how sex information present on the Web can promote Child sex industry. The effect is indirect; it helps in the recruitment of willing minors who are enchanted by what they see on the Internet. Solicitation of children The sexual exploitation of children via the Internet has been up graded to stature of becoming a serious problem. By solicitation means influencing children using the medium of the internet. Different countries have surveyed minors, who regularly use the Internet and the results were shocking.
A survey was conducted in the United States resulting in astounding 19 percent of the 1,501 surveyed children, aged 10-17 years of age, who were regular uses of Internet, confessed being approached by pedophiles for sex through the Internet once a year. On further investigation it was found out that one out of seven offenders contacted them by telephone and mail. In a small Australian survey of adolescent Internet users, 27 per cent of the children reported that they had been contacted by a sexual predator while using a chat room Recruiting Heaven
Popularity of Internet in recruiting children for sexual purposes is increasing exponentially. There are two basic reasons for that, first, it provides easy access to the children, secondly reduced risk of offenders being identified. Anonymity and misrepresentation of identity misleads the child into believing that the child is speaking to another child or a trusted friend or a parent figure. Offenders are lurking in chat rooms waiting for an opportune moment to gather data or converse with their potential victims. Stranger Danger The moral universally preached to children “that never talk to strangers”, does not imply to Internet.
Survey has shown that children don’t consider chatting on the Internet potentially dangerous. There are numerous reasons for that; one of them is that children are not preached the hazards of talking to strangers on the Internet. Secondly, while chatting to people on the net, children don’t get out of their comfort zone and the experience does not seem strange to them. Targeted Children Sexual offenders often target “troubled” children. By troubled we mean exposed to negative life effects, maltreated, and depressed children. Cunning offenders target children with specific characteristics.
Automatic choices are children in the care of the state, because it is but natural that they have not brought up in an ideal way, ensuring flawed personalities. Other contenders are children who have experienced prior maltreatment; emotionally immature children with learning or social difficulties and problems with peer friendships; love or attention deprived children; children with strong respect for adult status; children from single parent families; children who will co-operate for a desired reward (such as money, computer games); and, children with low self esteem.
A study of children aged 10-17 years in the United States found that children over 14 years who were “troubled” were more likely to be solicited. CST offender’s attraction On the other side of the spectrum, interested customers build their lines of communications through Internet, and plan their expeditions. With the exception of sexual assaults perpetrated by strangers, professional attention and concern about the abuse and neglect of children has largely centered on the maltreatment perpetrated by a child’s family members or friends. Privacy of chat rooms or the isolation of homes provides the perfect opportunity for offenders.
The beauty of Internet that attracts perpetrators is that they can remain anonymous with false identities. As well as being used for direct sexual solicitation, the Internet is used by pedophiles to legitimize, reinforce and facilitate their sexual inclinations An Australian study noted that “extensive pedophile activity and organization” can be found in publicly accessible parts of the Internet. The Internet has eased communication between pedophiles. Such contact may be organized formally through people or sites on the Internet, known as “facilitators”.
Such sites provide support, advice and encouragement, such as: location of the “best” newsgroups; assistance with organization and distribution of material; technical advice, such as down-loading and on decoding pornographic material and remaining anonymous; and, general integration into the virtual community. Internet chat rooms are often used by pedophiles to indulge in their freakish sexual fantasies. Survey reports convey that over 23,000 sites and 40,000 openly advertised chat rooms are devoted to the defense of adult-child sexual relations.
One prominent pedophiles group that has developed an Internet existence is the North American Men/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). The stated goal for this organization is “to end the extreme oppression of men and boys in mutually consensual relationships” by “building understanding and support for such relationships” and “educating the general public on the benevolent nature of man/boy love” (NAMBLA 2001). Child prostitution With the advent of Internet, there is an overall rise in child prostitution.
Pornographic images, and if dwelled further addresses and contacts are available on the Internet. Although, it is difficult to gauge the extent of child pornography on the Internet, there are estimates of 14 million pornographic sites, some of which carry an estimated one million pornographic images of children. The extent by which police of different countries are reporting these offences shows the extent of child pornography. In the USA alone approximately 1000 people annually are being apprehended in crimes against children, with known activity reported to be much higher.
Recent publicity has been given to the trial of seven men in the United Kingdom who were members of the Wonderland Club, an Internet organization of pedophiles operating in Europe, Australia and North America. Reports of this group serve to reveal the nature of the online pedophiles presence. Membership of the Wonderland Club was granted in exchange for providing the group with 10,000 new child pornography pictures. During the investigation into the Wonderland Club, law enforcement officers seized 750,000 pornographic images and 1,800 pornographic videos of children; 1,236 different children were identified from the images and videos held.