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‘For Facebook, they’re clients with privacy rights’: How Big Tech is letting predators get away with grooming online

18 15 17
26.09.2021

Recent investigations have shown that Big Tech companies has been aware of online sex trafficking for years. According to the 2020 Federal Human Trafficking Report, 59% of online victim recruitment in active sex-trafficking cases in the US last year occurred on Facebook. “Despite Facebook’s reputation as a less popular platform among teenagers, it was a more common platform for recruiting child victims than adult victims in 2020,” the report revealed.

RT spoke with three US-based women about the seedy world of online sex trafficking, with its secret code words, manipulation, and victims sold to the highest bidder. Misty – who wishes to keep her full name secret – was joined by fellow survivor and now activist Chong Kim, and advocate and writer Gia Santos, who offers support to victims. All spoke of how deep-rooted the issue is, despite occurring in plain sight, and how little is being done to eradicate it.

Kim says she was sex-trafficked in the mid-1990s, by a guy she met online who was pictured wearing a uniform and whom she came to think of as her boyfriend: “He pretended to be in the US military, but never was. He told me he wanted to take me to Florida to meet his family. I ended up in Northern Nevada on a Native American reservation, where me and 20 to 30 girls were locked up in a storage unit.”

Misty says she was targeted online, aged just 15, on the MySpace social networking platform. Fighting back tears, she explains what happened: “A musician from a band messaged me. He wanted to meet up. Unfortunately, he raped me. That evening, I received a message from an older, successful businessman, also on MySpace, claiming to be their manager. He knew everything that had happened – he knew we’d had sex and he knew I didn’t want to. He told me he was going to protect me. He was going to be my daddy and make me feel safe – all the things you want to hear.

Misty says she was sexually abused by the “businessman”, and, a couple of years later, was trafficked on Craigslist, a popular American small-ads website, by the father of her first child.

More than anything, I wanted to have a family and please this man. He ended up pimping me out – and one of the men was the same ‘businessman’ who had been messaging me on MySpace. He and another successful businessman came to see me. It was pretty traumatic.”

In truly horrifying circumstances, Misty........

© RT.com


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