Cybersex Trafficking is Modern Slavery
Every year, a growing number of young women and children are abused online by cybersex trafficking. As Tear Fund reports, impoverished women and girls are particularly vulnerable to online traffickers and predators.
What is Cybersex Trafficking?
Cybersex trafficking, or online sexual exploitation, is a cybercrime and a form of modern slavery. Cybersex trafficking is when a victim is forced into sexual exploitation using coercion, force, or fraud, and their abuse is streamed live on the internet via webcam, video, photography, or other digital media. Often, cybersex trafficking includes grooming (befriending a victim with the intent of manipulating them and lowering their inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse), and it sometimes involves blackmail.
Where Does Cybersex Trafficking Happen?
The Philippines, where 10ThousandWindows operates, is considered the “epicentre of the live-stream sexual abuse trade” according to UNICEF.
According to the US Department of State, while law enforcement in the Philippines has attempted to enforce anti-trafficking laws in the country and there are penalties for abusers, traffickers still exploit minors online and the Philippines is one of the top sources for online sexual exploitation in the world.
Unlike sex trafficking where a victim is exploited in a brothel, cybersex trafficking is not bound by geography or to a particular building, town, or location. Predators can access cybersex trafficking material from anywhere around the world – from the comfort of home or an internet cafe – as long as they have an internet connection. The ease of access and distribution has made cybersex trafficking material widely available, and more difficult to track.
While there is no data about the magnitude of global cybersex trafficking, authorities around the world receive millions of reports annually about cybersex trafficking cases.
A Growing Crime
The internet has made it much easier for predators and traffickers to groom, lure, manipulate, and exploit vulnerable communities and populations, without getting caught. Widespread access across the globe to the internet has also made it easier for predators to produce and disseminate cybersex trafficking material.
Now, in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic and faced with widespread lockdowns, cybersex trafficking is increasing.
Impact On Survivors
Online sexual exploitation presents unique challenges for cybersex trafficking victims recovering from trauma. Because of the proliferation of the internet, often there is no obvious end to the abuse, as digital media can continue to circulate online for months and years, accessed again and again by predators.
“These young women have experienced terrible trauma and exploitation and they need our full support to be restored and live safe, free, and hopeful lives.”
Jonna Eleccion, Philippines Country Director, 10ThousandWindows
How We Combat Cybersex Trafficking
Restore & Empower
We empower victims of cybersex trafficking by providing holistic counseling and psychosocial support. We help each survivor overcome trauma and reclaim control over their lives, and walk them until they are restored, resilient, and hopeful.
Educate & Train
We equip survivors of cybersex trafficking with the tools and skills they need to compete in the workforce. Through scholarships for high school and college, and workplace readiness training, we help survivors develop the core skills and confidence they need to successfully secure real, sustainable jobs.
Employ & Set Free
We help cybersex trafficking survivors attain real, sustainable jobs and break free from the evil cycle of exploitation once and for all. By providing career counseling, screening companies for labor practices, referring survivors to safe businesses, and training corporate leaders on trauma and mental health in the workplace, we forge lasting freedom for survivors.
“I was scared, nervous, and confused. I did not know what to do. I felt so much pressure.”
Thea* was tricked by someone close to her and exploited in a cybersex trafficking ring. She desperately wants a future of hope and freedom.