The post below was submitted by one of our partners, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. It is the first in a series of posts written by our nonprofit and technology partner organizations on the importance of technology innovation to combat human trafficking and child exploitation.
We know a child’s safety can depend on law enforcement’s ability to get the best information in the shortest amount of time. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children relies on technology to help make this happen.
In 2013, our CyberTipline received more than 500,000 reports of suspected child sexual exploitation. A majority of the reports came directly from electronic service providers, and many involved images that appeared to depict the sexual abuse of children.
We have seen technology help ESPs locate and report potentially exploitive images faster than ever. And once we have a report, we use some of the same technology to quickly make these reports available to law enforcement agencies here and around the world.
Many videos and photos are reported to us multiple times as they are shared by people worldwide. Sometimes ESPs report large batches of images and videos at once. When this happens it is important that we identify new images that have not been reported before. Technology helps us do this. In one situation, more than 92,000 individual files were reduced to only eight that needed review.
Each new image can result in a new case for law enforcement. The information included in a CyberTipline report can potentially help law enforcement rescue a child from abuse, bring a criminal to justice or sometimes both. These kinds of results are possible when technology helps the online industry monitor its networks and automate the reporting of suspected child victimization to us.
We rely on various forms of technology to analyze photos and information quickly to help law enforcement safely recover children. But that is not all technology companies do to assist the work we do every day.
- Work closely with our CyberTipline by reporting exploitative content found on their networks or servers.
- Develop and provide resources to help us stay ahead of offenders.
- Provide financial support to help us prevent child sexual exploitation.
Like many industries, we are constantly challenged to keep up with advancing technology. We recently opened a branch office in Palo Alto, Calif. to help us do just that. We are working to strengthen our ties in the technology community, and what better way to do that then moving into the neighborhood?
We will continue to work closely with our existing technology partners and reach out to potential new ones in our ongoing efforts to help keep children safer from exploitation.
John Ryan is president and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Since taking the helm of NCMEC, Ryan has led a campaign to fight child sex trafficking in this country, which has shifted from the streets to the Internet, where children are openly advertised for sex on classified websites. He previously served on the organization’s Board of Directors for 12 years.
To learn more about child sexual exploitation, watch this video, read more about Thorn’s fight, check out our work, and get educated on the child sex trafficking facts and child abuse imagery statistics.