SFU Personal Cybercrimes Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Discussion Questions

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Personal Cybercrimes - Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Overview In this module, you will learn about the history of child exploitation and how it has changed over time with the invention of the Internet. We will discuss types of child exploitation, the scope of the problem, and strategies used by content creators and users to distribute, access, and hide child exploitation material on the Internet. In this module you will also learn about the legal tools available for responding to child exploitation cases and what forms of distribution and access are easier and harder to detect. To gain a better understanding of what law enforcement can do, you will read about three successful operations through which they found and arrested people involved in such activities. Finally, we will discuss what human trafficking is, how it is done online, who the victims are, and laws related to human trafficking in Canada. Learning Outcomes • • • • Definitions of online child exploitation Strategies used by offenders to participate in child exploitation anonymously Various legal and law enforcement tools available to respond to cases of child exploitation What human trafficking is and the various types of it Topic 1: Online Child Exploitation • Introduction • In general, online sexual exploitation is never an easy topic to discuss. When the victims of online sexual violence are children, it becomes an even more difficult topic to discuss. However, in the age of the internet, online child exploitation has become more prevalent. Therefore, it is important for us as criminologists to gain a better understanding of this problem and how the internet plays an increasing role in the production and distribution of child exploitation material. • It is important that we approach this topic with respect, care, and consideration. During the content presented here, you will be exposed to ideas and topics only, but no explicit content. Public Safety Canada (2022). categorizes online child exploitation into six different groups: Child Sexual Abuse Material Child sexual abuse material includes, “actual, but also fictitious, written depictions of child sexual abuse, audio, video, and images, also known as child pornography Self-Generated Materials and Sexting Self-generated materials and sexting are materials that include, “youth-generated explicit images/videos on the Internet, which are often further distributed without consent” Sextortion Sextortion is the, “use of coercion and threats to extort child sexual exploitation images/videos from youth (either by other youth or adult offenders)” Grooming and Luring Grooming and luring involves the, “use of applications and platforms to connect with children and youth for the purpose of sexually exploiting them” Live Child Sexual Abuse Streaming Live child sexual abuse streaming involves the, “viewing of child sexual abuse in realtime, often involves the offender directing the abuse” Made-to-Order Content In terms of online child exploitation, made-to-order content is the “ordering videos/images to suit offenders’ preferences How Prevalent is Online Child Exploitation? When you look at the chart below, what stands out to you about the data? In the chart below, click on the different markers to uncover important facts about the data represented. We can see that incidents of Luring a Child via Computer (s. 172.1) are steadily increasing; however, the number of people charged remains mostly the same. Police agencies across Canada are becoming overwhelmed with the increase in cases. Due to the increase of incidents and the limited resources that are available, police agencies are often required to only pursue investigations against the worst and most prolific offenders. This means many offenders slip through the cracks. It is very important to note that the frequencies of incidents reported in this data are likely to be significantly lower in comparison to the true number of child exploitation incidents that occur. There are many reasons why these reported incidents do not represent the true frequency of incidents. Often these crimes go unreported and undetected. Additionally, many incidents are highly disguised by various strategies to reduce detection Why do we not refer to ‘child exploitation’ as ‘child pornography’? We do not refer to child exploitation as child pornography because this implies that it is linked to legal adult pornography. When we talk about pornography, we typically are discussing legal sexual content between consenting individuals over the age of 18. Children cannot consent. By referring to online child exploitation as pornography, it normalizes the material and trivializes the severity of the offence. The correct terminology is not and should never be “child pornography”. Instead, what terms should we use when discussing this issue? Child sexual abuse and/or child sexual exploitation How does our Canadian Criminal Code define child sexual exploitation? Section 163.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada defines child sexual exploitation as: A photographic, film, video, or other visual representation, whether or not it was made by electronic or mechanical means that shows a person, under the age of 18, engaged in explicit sexual activity or where the dominant characteristic is a sexual organ or the anal region of a person under the age of 18 Under this section, it is illegal to: • • • • • Create Publish Transmit Possess Knowingly Access If, during your wanders on the internet, you should ever come across such an image, you should close the tab and forget about it. This can be chalked up to “accidental access”. If however you then go back to check things out again, then you are knowingly accessing the content and thus fall under Section 163.1. Exceptions to Section 163.1 Are there any exceptions to section 163.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada? There are 4 exceptions to s. 163.1. In the image below, click on the different markers to learn more about each exception. Note that laws, and these exceptions, are specific to Canada, and not all countries have them, or have them in a different form. This can be especially risky when crossing borders, as the Canada Border Services Agency often seizes manga comics which it deems to be “obscene” Education is an exception to s. 163.1. For example, if the RCMP’s Integrated Child Exploitation Team (ICE) were to be training new officers to investigate online child exploitation, they would likely need to show child exploitation materials to the officers so that they can understand what they are looking for when carrying out investigations. As this is for educational purposes, it does not violate s. 163.1. Another example could include a team of university-level researchers who are trying to better understand the nature and scope of online child exploitation. Their findings would provide police and lawmakers with better insight into the issue and may help to establish more effective responses. This would also fall under the education exception. Public good is an exception to s. 163.1. If it is for the sake of the public good, accessing child exploitation materials does not violate the law. This includes police officers who need to access the material for the sake of protecting the victim and investigating the crime. Medical purpose is an exception to s. 163.1. Within the medical field, there are many situations where a medical professional may need to access certain materials and images for the medical purposes. For example, a medical textbook may include a picture of a child’s genitalia; however, the image is required to assist in a diagnosis or in medical education, and is not for a sexual purpose. Artistic merit is an exception to s. 163.1. Art is often exempt from violating child exploitation laws. For example, you may think about the many different statues that you might come across if you were to travel through Europe. Perhaps you may think about the famous statue in Brussels that depicts a young boy in the nude peeing in the fountain. You may also think of cherub statues in Italy. These examples fall under the exception of artistic merit. This History of Child Exploitation Child exploitation is far less acceptable now than it has been in the past. There are many different historical eras where child exploitation was accepted and normalized. For information on the historical eras that normalized child exploitation, read the tabs below. Does Child Marriage Still Occur? In our exploration of child exploitation throughout history, we have examined how the societies of different eras normalized the sexual exploitation of children. You may think that in the present day, we are enlightened and do not see this anymore. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Over the past 15 years in the United States, more than 207,000 minors were legally married. Many of these minors had not reached the age of sexual consent. Children aged 12 or older could legally obtain a marriage license in multiple states across the United States. Canada has seen 3,380 children become legally married within the past 18 years. In some circumstances, girls as young as 10 have been married to adult men (Best, 2020)n When an adult enters into a marriage with a child, sexual relations with the child no longer falls under the category of child exploitation. Marriage permits sexual acts with a child, regardless of the child being under the age of consent. In many child marriages, non-consensual sex is extremely common; however, in many states across the US, law enforcement cannot charge the adult husband with statutory rape as this act is not illegal within the marriage (Best, 2020) The Distribution of Child Exploitation Material before the Internet Click on the card below to learn more about how child exploitation material circulated pre-internet. 1969-1976 During this time, child exploitation materials were circulated through magazines and VHS tapes. There were over 250+ magazines in circulation that included content that sexualized and exploited children. These tapes and magazines were also very expensive. This method of distribution during this time had many problems. The cost to produce and distribute this material was very expensive and ran a lot of risks in the market of people who were interested in purchasing this material was very small. This made the material very expensive. Individuals who wished to purchase this material also faced many challenges. As these magazines were illegal and could not be easily purchased in a store, it required buyers to know people and have connections to access this illegal material. Remember, this was a time before the internet. There was no digital distribution, no file sharing, and no digital storage. For people to obtain this content, they had to find physical copies of it. The Introduction of the Internet After the internet was introduced, child exploitation materials became easier, cheaper, and less risky to obtain. To learn more about how the internet increased the ability for child exploitation material to be produced and distributed with ease, click on the points in the timeline below. Benefits of the Internet The internet has addressed the previous limitations that were prevalent with the distribution of child exploitation materials (slow physical distribution, local and small demand, physical copies degrading over time, expensive production). The rise of the internet was a major catalyst for a drastic increase in the availability of child exploitation materials. In the age of the internet, child exploitation content is produced more frequently and is distributed with more efficiency. It is no longer tied to a small local market and can be distributed world-wide. Due to this, the number of interested consumers has also increased. how the internet has been beneficial for the child exploitation industry: Semi-Anonymous 1. Law Enforcement: Those who create, upload, and consume this material are better able to hide from law enforcement. Before the internet, it was far more difficult to remain anonymous. 2. Victims: The child exploitation industry has benefitted greatly in their ability to conceal exploitative material from their victims. Content that is uploaded can be hidden from victims so they may not even be aware that the material has been published. 3. Co-Offenders: The identities of those who have co-offended remains protected. Globalization The internet has increased the pool of available victims. Because child exploitation creators and consumers are no longer limited to a small, local network, they are now able to reach and produce material internationally. As their reach and scope expands, so does the availability of potential victims. Highly Efficient The internet has increased the rate of offending. Co-offenders can communicate quickly and effectively. Child exploitation materials can be at their fingertips in seconds. The Scope of the Problem The scope of the problem is unknown. Given the covert nature of this issue, it is difficult to estimate the true extent of the problem. However, there have been some guesses about the extent of this issue: • • • In 1997, it was estimated that 15% of all pornography on the Internet involved children (Finkelhor and Ormrod, 2004) In 2000, it was estimated that that number had grown to 26% In 2010, U.S Customs Services estimated that there were 100,000 child exploitation websites on the internet Strategies on the Internet Child exploitation creators and consumers have established creative methods to avoid detection on the internet. In the slideshow below, learn more about what strategies are used to prevent child exploitation material from being detected by law enforcement. P2P Child Exploitation Material Traders in North America The image below shows the number of users who have accessed or downloaded child exploitation content through P2P file sharing networks. Each red dot represents a computer that has connected to the network and accessed child exploitation files. Fortunately, when consumers use P2P networks to access child exploitation material, it is much easier for law enforcement to detect and collect user information. (Note that the way this image was generated implies that there are no offenders outside of British Columbia in Canada. This however is just the way the image was generated, it was lacking data for those provinces. We would expect the same distribution of offenders in those province as in BC or the USA.) Does the number of red dots come as a surprise to you at all? P2P Child Exploitation Material Traders The image below represents the number of users who have accessed child exploitation materials in Regina, Saskatchewan on a Friday afternoon. According to Leo (2019Links to an external site.), the case-load of child exploitation cases in Saskatchewan has more than doubled over the past 5 years. Similarly, when looking at Canada as a whole, the number of offences has increased by 233% over 5 years. Officers of the Saskatchewan ICE unit feel as though, “they're using a teacup to empty a swimming pool” (Leo, 2019Links to an external site., para. 4), What is the Nature of Child Exploitation Content Online? Cyber Tip Canada (2009)Links to an external site. reports that: • • • • 35% of all images depict serious sexual assault (68.5% of these images are of child under the age of 8) 6% of all child exploitation webpages have at least one image depicting a child under the age of 8, with many showing infants or toddlers 3% of images were found to have at least one adult visible Most severe cases involved bondage (75.5%), bestiality, torture, and defecation Child Exploitation Website Statistics The image below highlights some findings of The Internet Watch Foundation’s Annual Report (2015).Links to an external site. These statistics follow similar trends to what was uncovered by Cyber Tip Canada (2009)Links to an external site.. We see in both reports that the amount of child exploitation material available online is increasing significantly. We can also see that extremely young children are being sexually exploited. Many of these young victims experience significant levels of violence. This module has shown the severity of the issue and the immense difficulty that police agencies across Canada and the world are facing in their response to online child exploitation. We know that child exploitation material is downloaded across the world. However, where does this exploitation come from? Which areas of the world is this content being uploaded and hosted from? In the image below, click on the different markers to learn which continents host the most child exploitation content. 42% of child exploitation content is hosted in North America. 41% of child exploitation content is hosted in Europe and Russia. 17% of child exploitation content is hosted in Asia. North America and Europe host the most child exploitation content in the world. Why do you think North America and Europe host the most child exploitation content in the world, regardless of having the strictest laws on child exploitation? The answer actually has little to do with the law. It all comes down to digital infrastructure. Countries located in North America and Europe have the most stable servers, cheaper server costs, cheaper electricity, and high speeds of Internet. This allows these countries to host more content for less money. Where is the content? We, at the International CyberCrime Research Center, at SFU, conducted a study (Monk, 2015) that examined the server locations of child exploitation websites. The purpose of this study was to understand where the servers are located that host child exploitation websites to assist in efforts to shut them down. If many are concentrated in a small area, this makes it easier for law enforcement to respond. In collaboration with BC-RCMP’s Integrated Child Exploitation (ICE) team, and by using our custom-written webcrawler (The Dark Crawler), we were able to examine many websites in search of child exploitation content. Through finding child exploitation content online, collecting information about the images’ sources, and assigning them a unique identification code, we were able to cross-reference and pinpoint the location of multiple servers across the world that host child exploitation content. The image below illustrates how many images are hosted on each server that was identified in the United States. From this image, we can see that servers in Arizona are hotspots for hosting child exploitation content. From a law enforcement perspective, allocating resources to taking down servers within the major hot spots would have the largest impact on the online landscape of child exploitation materials. The study also had some very interesting findings about a server in the Netherlands. In examining many websites, we found that six websites were hosted on the same server in the Netherlands (shown in the bubble on the map, above). We crawled the webpages on those websites, collecting information about the images, and matching them against a database provided by BC-RCMP’s Integrated Child Exploitation team, we were able to identify several websites hosting child exploitation content. We collected the names of the websites and from this information, we were able to keep records on what kind of content, and how many items, were published on each website. What Can We Do? Option 1: Arrest Michail One option is to arrest Michail. The main issue is that he is living in Russia. Unless Russia agrees to cooperate and extradite Michail, this solution may not be feasible. However, given that in most countries worldwide child exploitation is illegal, and most people, even offenders, find this content repulsive, it could be possible that they choose to assist Canada. However, it is still unlikely as Russia has openly stated that they will not extradite. Michail could however face Russian authorities. Option 2: Shut the Server Down Well, we do know where the server is located so we could just shut it down. While this seems like an obvious solution, it may not solve the problem. Michail could easily rent another server and re-upload the content on another server. Another issue is that the content is not actually located on the suxodro4ka.info website. When we dug a bit deeper, we found that suxodro4ka.info actually references images and videos that are located on other websites. Meaning, if you wanted to remove this content from the internet, you would also need to remove all the websites that suxodro4ka.info is referencing. Compare this to you uploading a video to YouTube, then embedding it into your own webpage. Although the video looks like it is within your webpage, it is “streamed in”, and disabling your website does nothing to the YouTubehosted video. So how do you combat the problem? The issue is so complex that it becomes very difficult to establish a worthwhile response. You can try to block or disable the website(s), but you might be playing whack-a-mole. Is it possible to make yourself a victim of child exploitation and be punished for it? The answer is yes… In 2015, a 17-year-old was charged as an adult for possession of nude photos he took of himself when he was 16 (a minor). The teen had no intention of sharing the photos and the images were held exclusively on his phone (Walters, 2015Links to an external site.). Is this right? Topic 2: Law Enforcement Responses to Child Exploitation v. Sharpe was a fundamental case in Canada where the unlawfulness (or lawfulness) of child exploitation material was examined before the courts. What happened? Sharpe was stopped at the border upon returning to Canada from Amsterdam. Upon inspection, computer disks were found in his bag that contained images of nude teenage boys. Sharpe argued that laws against possession of child exploitation materials violated his freedom of thought and expression. Sharpe said that “child pornography” was cathartic to him What did the court say? The law was upheld. The court agreed that although the two laws seem to contradict each other, and that the laws against possession of child exploitation do violate his freedom of expression, the laws that protect children from exploitation hold far more value and thus the content is illegal. What precedent was set? From this case, an interesting legal precedent was set. 1. The judge determined that a person could possess written or visual material that was created by the accused alone, and held by the accused alone, exclusively for his or her own personal use. However, as soon as someone else is involved (like a child who is being photographed), there is now a clear victim and the act is illegal. 2. The judge also determined that a person could possess visual recording created by or depicting the accused, provided it does not depict unlawful sexual activity, and is held by the accused exclusively for private use. It is important to note that as soon as another party is involved, then possession of this material is no longer lawful. This means that if the content depicts a second party, another person records or views the content, or the creator shares the content with another person, it may become a criminal. Law Enforcement Actions There have been many successful law enforcement responses worldwide. previous examples of effective operations: Operation Tornado (2011) During Operation Tornado, Dutch police found a large child exploitation site that was registered in the Netherlands. The police found that the website was hosted on a server in Nebraska. The police then gained administrative access to the server and began to monitor the server and collect information on it. With the help of the FBI, they were able to identify the person who was responsible for maintaining the content on this website. The suspect was an employee of the large US based data center in Nebraska. After the suspect was arrested, the FBI gained full access to the website. They modified the website to remove all protections of anonymity for the visitors to the site. This lead to more arrests (Pagliery, 2016). Project Spade (2010) After a 7-month investigation, Toronto police shut down a $4 million child exploitation production and distribution company. This company created and distributed their own, and others’, material to over 50 countries worldwide. Project Spade rescued nearly 400 children from further child exploitation. Approximately 350 people were arrested in their connection to the company. Among the arrested were schoolteachers, doctors, nurses, religious leaders, and foster parents. Police also seized over 45 terabytes of data (Mehta, 2013). Operation Torpedo (2016) After a 3-year investigation of a child exploitation ring in the United States, 6 children were rescued and 9 people were arrested for their connection to the child exploitation operation. Among those arrested was Timothy DeFoggi. DeFoggi was the top cybersecurity official at the Health and Human Services Department at the time. The site in question, PedoBook was a social-media platform used by offenders involved in downloading and uploading child exploitation materials. Although it was on the Dark Web, the FBI had previously gained full access to this website and removed all protections of anonymity. This allowed them to access private messages and collect identifying information on the website’s users. In a private message, DeFoggi wrote, "I am tired of... this fantasy. I need to kill an infant or toddler for real” (Pagliery, 2016). Fortunately, the FBI intervened before DeFoggi acted on his violent urges. Who is Richard Huckle? Richard Huckle was a 33-year-old British man who had abused approximately 200 children. In 2016, Huckle was given 22 life sentences “after admitting to 71 charges of sex abuse of children aged between six months and 12 years, between 2006 and 2014.” Huckle also collected 20,000 indecent pictures which he shared on the Dark Web. He was compiling a pedophile's manual to teach others about how to exploit children at the time of his arrest in 2014. In one of Huckle’s comments on one of his victims, he boasted, "I'd hit the jackpot, a 3 year old girl as loyal to me as my dog and nobody seemed to care” (BBC News, 2019Links to an external site.). Huckle was later stabbed to death in prison. Even criminals do not like pedophiles. What are Common Trends with Offenders? many child exploitation offenders seem to have in common. “One thing most pedophiles have in common: They discover, usually as teenagers, that their sexual preferences have not matured like everyone else’s. Most get stuck on the same-age boys or girls who first attracted them at the start of puberty” (New York Times, 2019) “A majority of convicted offenders are men who prey on children ages 6 to 17. Rough estimates put the rate of pedophilic attraction at 1 to 4 percent in both men and women. The vast majority of offenders deny any sex abuse in their childhood” (New York Times, 2019) In a study, inspectors from various government agencies interviewed 127 online child sexual offenders shortly after their arrests. After interviewing with “more in-depth, polygraph-assisted methods”, 60% admitted to physically abusing a child (New York Times, 2019). Topic 3: Human Trafficking Is human trafficking the same as human smuggling? Human smuggling and human trafficking are not the same thing. Human smuggling typically involves smuggling someone over an international border. Smuggling is voluntary and the person who is being smuggled is not coerced. When the person gets over the border, the transaction is finished, and they move on from the person who smuggled them. Refugees will often resort to a smuggler to help them get across a border. This is with consent. Human trafficking does not necessarily need to happen on an international scale. Victims of human trafficking can be trafficked within the same country, province, or city. Human trafficking is not a voluntary decision and victims do not get to leave when the destination is reached. This is without consent. Human Trafficking What is human trafficking? The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime defines human trafficking as the “Act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them.” Who are the victims of human trafficking? Approximately 22% of victims of human trafficking are forced into sexual exploitation. Many other victims are forced into labour exploitation. It is estimated that 5.5 million children are being trafficked worldwide per year. Of human trafficking victims across the world, 59% are women, 17% are girls (under 18y), 14% are men, and 10% are boys (under 18y). What is classic trafficking? Classic trafficking often involves hiding in cargo containers, being shipped across the Pacific Ocean on small boats, being smuggled through the border, etc. What is internet-based trafficking? In internet-based trafficking, online classified sites advertise victims, often for sexual services. Social network sites are often used to recruit victims. Many times, offenders will set up “dates” online to recruit victims. In other situations, babysitters or nannies are recruited from other countries and end up being coerced into sexual or labour exploitation. What do we know about human trafficking? We know that, “the internet has been identified as the number one platform that pimps, traffickers and johns currently use for buying and selling women and children for sex in the United States” (The Polaris Project, 2017). We also know that Canada is not currently known to be a country of origin, but is known to be a destination, for human trafficking victims. (Canadian Council for Refugees, ND) Where do human traffickers advertise their victims for sexual exploitation? Craigslist was used for a long time to advertise the sexual services of human trafficking victims. After Craigslist banned the advertisement of adult services, Backpage.com became a common resource for human traffickers. Eventually, Backpage was seized by the US Department of Justice and the company plead guilty to engaging in human trafficking. Why can’t human trafficking victims just leave? Human traffickers will take complete control over their victims. Human traffickers will control their victims’ cellphones, reply to their messages from prospective customers, withhold their travel documents, and control every aspect of their lives including where they sleep, eat, and work. Human Trafficking Laws in Canada Human trafficking offences fall under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act • s279.01: Trafficking in Persons o Carries maximum penalty of 14 years o In cases of kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault, or death, max penalty is life • s279.02: Receiving financial or other material benefit from trafficking o Guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than ten years • s279.03: Concealing, removing, withholding, or destroying any travel document that belongs to another person for travel or immigration o Liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years Conclusions • Child sexual exploitation should never be connected to any legitimate pornography, as it can never be legitimate, and calling it child pornography legitimizes it. It is exploitation, as a child cannot consent. It is illegal to possess any recording, photo or depiction of a naked child where the focus is of a sexual nature. Our laws were carefully crafted so that parents, who are (for example) taking photos of their young ones while they’re running around naked, will not be thrown in prison. The difference is intent. Parents are not doing this with a sexual purpose in mind. • With the internet though, we can make all the laws we want, we can only enforce them within Canada (we will talk about this more towards the end of the course – especially how sometimes we can enforce laws outside of Canada). So, the offenders can be out of our reach, making the problem severely difficult to combat. We should admire the members of the RCMP’s ICE unit, who specialize in combatting this offense, and the brutal violent videos of abuse they have to sort through to catch their offender. In personal discussion with some ICE members some years back, they explicitly told me how difficult it is, and, on average, they only last 1.5-2 years within the unit. I personally think we, as society, should be able to dedicate more resources to this problem, and to protect our most vulnerable members of society. I, as a parent, just cannot imagine how offenders justify these actions to themselves. • In our study mentioned in this Module, we did conduct the study, searched for these images, mapped out these websites. We were able to do this under the “education” exception, being a University research center. However, we did not wish to be arrested, and thus confirmed everything with the RCMP before commencing with the study. We feared they would not allow us to proceed, but the opposite happened. They gave us a database of image “fingerprints”, which allowed us to automatically categorize images they have already seen and categorized. This meant that we did not have to look at these images, because, once you see something, you cannot unsee it. I have found working with the RCMP to be a pleasure, even if the topics are difficult.
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