Alameda County H.E.A.T. Watch Tip Line: 1-510-208-4959.
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An increase reliance on the Internet and communication devices has changed the nature and scope of traditional pimping and pandering. As a result, human trafficking knows no borders and geography is no longer a barrier. It takes commercial sexual exploitation of children off the streets & onto the Internet, thereby impairing visibility & increasing mobility. As a result, the sophistication of the CSEC marketplace is enhanced.
Technology and the Internet fuel the widespread movement of victims & offenders in response to market demand. It increases the transitory nature of CSEC cases, impeding law enforcement’s ability to:
CSEC offers traffickers big money and little risk. The Internet grants greater access to children and unattainable profits. Even small time traffickers make big time money. As a result, drug dealers, gangs, and organized crime are lured from traditional pursuits into the big business of CSEC. Now, drug dealers are dealing children instead of dope. Sadly, today there is no better return on money than selling a child for sex.
The misuse of language in how we describe CSEC disguises profit for traffickers and harm to victims. Terms like “prostitute” or “pimp” inaccurately portray the multi-million dollar industry of child abuse. Only trafficker’s profit from these labels. Additionally, popular culture perpetuates false stereotypes and causes harm.
Agencies and organizations often work in silos, whereas traffickers operate in a vastly interrelated network. As a result, traffickers often elude law enforcement, and present themselves to their victims as the only ones who care about them. Thus, victims are left with little trust in child serving professionals due to this inadvertent negligence that comes from the lack of a coordinated system response.
CSEC are hard to manage because they do not identify themselves as victims of sexual exploitation. Various factors play into that belief. CSEC victims don’t know what love looks like and are looking for love in all the wrong places. Psychological manipulation and domination creates trauma bonds from the victim to their exploiter, and further impairs recovery and prosecution efforts. Many are unwilling to cooperate with law enforcement, and will not testify against their pimp. Understanding CSEC victimology is the key to effectively managing CSEC victims and cases.