The Problem and the Scope: Commercial Exploitation of Children in the U.S.

(This article is originally from the website of NC Stop Human Trafficking.)

The Problem and the Scope: Commercial Exploitation of Children in the U.S.

By Melinda Sampson

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and there are several different types of child abuse including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Every child deserves to feel safe, and prevention of all forms of child abuse is imperative to achieve that safety.

Child sexual abuse is directly connected to human trafficking.

For all intents and purposes, this piece will focus on child sexual abuse, but it is important to note that children who experience an increase in any adverse childhood experiences are more vulnerable to the manipulative tactics of traffickers, along with many other health issues that include substance use disorders, mental health issues later in life and physical health problems.

Child sexual abuse images (formerly called “child pornography”) and commercial sexual exploitation of children are two forms of child sexual abuse that are also human trafficking.

(This article is originally from the website of NC Stop Human Trafficking.)

What is child sexual abuse?

According to Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) child sexual abuse is “a form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor

Child sexual abuse does not have include touching. There are a myriad of forms of child sexual abuse. As listed by RAINN, they are:

Exhibitionism, or exposing oneself to a minor



Masturbation in the presence of a minor or forcing the minor to masturbate

Obscene phone calls, text messages, or digital interaction

Producing, owning, or sharing pornographic images or movies of children

Sex of any kind with a minor

Sex trafficking

Any other sexual conduct that is harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare

Child sexual abuse is typically perpetrated by someone the child knows — according to RAINN 93% of victims know the abuser.

According to TEDI BEAR Children’s Advocacy Center, approximately 60% of abusers are known to by the child’s family and are a trusted person to the family. TEDI BEAR also says that 70% of child sexual abuse perpetrators are not related to the victim.


(This article is originally from the website of NC Stop Human Trafficking.)

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

According to Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) refers to a range of crimes and activities involving the sexual abuse or exploitation of a child for the financial benefit of any person or in exchange for anything of value (including monetary and non-monetary benefits) given or received by any person.

Commercial sexual exploitation of children crimes include child sex trafficking, child sex tourism, commercial production of child pornography, and online exchanges of live video of a child engaging in sexual activity for something of value.

Child trafficking is the is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, or advertising of a minor child for the purpose of a commercial sex act, which involves the exchange of anything of value – such as money, drugs or a place to stay – for sexual activity. 

North Carolina passed the Safe Harbor legislation in 2013 which ensured that if a person was under the age of 18 — a child –cannot be arrested for prostitution, but rather treated as a victim of human trafficking. The fact of the matter is, children who are being exploited for sex are victims of child sex trafficking. It is child sexual abuse for profit.

Safe Harbor also makes mistaken age no defense for buyers and consent of the minor is not a valid defense.

Children are incapable of making the decision to be involved in the commercial sex industry. There is no such thing as a child prostitute.

Child pornography – or what we will refer to as Child Sexual Abuse Images – is an image or video that includes nudity or sexual images of child who is under the age of 18.

(This article is originally from the website of NC Stop Human Trafficking.)

What is the scope of the problem?

The availability of child sexual abuse images has increased exponentially since 2004. [Thorn Digital Defenders of Children, a tech company founded by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, highlights that the National Center for Mission and Exploited Children reviewed 50,000 files sexual abuse image files in 2004. In 2019, that number skyrocketed to 70 million files.](

The National Center of Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) states that, as of November 2018, there were nearly 43 million reports to the cyber tipline (1-800-THE-LOST) of child sexual abuse images online with more than 15,000 victims identified.

(This article is originally from the website of NC Stop Human Trafficking.)

Who are the victims?

NCMEC compiled a list of the key findings from the studies, “Production and Active Trading of Child Sexual Exploitation Images Depicting Identified Victims” and “Towards a Global Indicator on Unidentified Victims in Child Sexual Exploitation Material” about who victims of child sexual abuse materials are.

The key findings include

1. Girls appear in the overwhelming majority of CSAM.

2. Prepubescent children are at the greatest risk to be depicted in CSAM.

3. When boys are victimized, they are much more likely than girls to be subjected to very explicit or egregious abuse.

4. On average boys depicted in CSAM are younger than girls and more likely to have not yet reached puberty.

5. 78% of reports regarding online enticement involved girls and 15% involved boys (in 8% of reports, the gender of the child could not be determined).

(This article is originally from the website of NC Stop Human Trafficking.)

More than 400,000 people have signed the petition to bring down Pornhub
More than 400,000 people have signed a petition to bring down PornHub

PornHub Exploits Children for Profit and Pornography fuels demand for Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Watching pornography fuels the demand for exploitation of children. While many people say that pornography is a “regulated industry,” the truth of the matter is, it is absolutely not.

We only have to look at PornHub’s grossly negligent policing of its website to see that videos of children being raped are uploaded on the website and remain on the website for long periods of time — even after the victims themselves plead for them to be removed.

PornHub’s clear profiteering on child sex trafficking garnered the attention of Sen. Ben Sasse.

Sasse demanded Attorney General William P. Barr investigate adult video giant Pornhub for allegedly facilitating human trafficking in early March of this year.

“In several notable incidents over the past year, Pornhub made content available worldwide showing women and girls that were victims of trafficking being raped and exploited,” the Nebraska Republican wrote in a letter to Barr.

(This article is originally from the website of NC Stop Human Trafficking.)


15-year-old girl missing for a year spotted in 58 videos on adult websites, Periscope and Snapchat by mother

Pornhub has been caught hosting rape and child pornography. Don’t fall for its coronavirus publicity stunt

The outrage over PornHub’s complicity in child sexual abuse has reached such a fever pitch. More than 450,000 people around the world signed a petition to have the platform shut down.

NC Stop Human Trafficking believes that consumption of pornography is not only harmful to the people who watch but also the people – in many cases children – who are in the videos and images.

Sign the Petition to bring down Porn Hub.

Melinda Sampson is the community outreach coordinator at NC Stop Human Trafficking. Email her at

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