Assistant Attorney General Beth Williams calls on all people to take action and unite to dealing with online child exploitation / abuse.
Speaking yesterday at a virtual law school event at Columbia University, Williams said: "Addressing the problem of online child abuse requires cooperation from all members of society - including the law enforcement agencies, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and citizens".
According to the Prosecutor, one form of exploitation / abuse can lead to another form.
"The exploitation and abuse that begin in Internet, in the virtual world, often lead to abuse in the real world. According to a very common scenario, an expert can use the SOCIAL MEDIA to get in touch with a child, take the time to build trust, and then try to meet with him for further exploitationSaid Williams.
He also added that the online sexual exploitation / blackmail, where experts use social media and others platforms and try to convince them children to send apocalyptic photos their. They then blackmail them to give them money, send more pictures or engage in sexual acts. According to Williams, sexual blackmail is a very common phenomenon and such incidents are reported daily.
Last year, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) received 16,9 million reports of online child exploitation. The reports included more than 69 million photos, video and other archives, related to child sexual exploitation-blackmail.
Especially in this period, due COVID-19, children spend even more time on computers and mobile phones and this complicates the situation. Kids are familiar with the web cameras and social media, and often use them unattended. This can be very dangerous.
"We are lucky to have advanced technology which gives us the means to stay connected ", said Williams. "However, the same technology allows professionals to target children for sexual exploitation.".
Williams also talked about end-to-end encryption which makes it even more difficult to report and detect online child abuse cases.
""This has real consequences," Williams said. "Law enforcement will not be able to deal with thousands of incidents. Otherwise they could stop the spread of child sexual material, arrest a perpetrator or save a child from abuse".
According to Infosecurity Magazine, the NCMEC believes the reports about online child exploitation will be limited due to end-to-end encryption.