US child prostitution network dismantled

U.S. authorities dismantled on Tuesday (18) a network of child pornography operated by about 14 men and which had over 27 thousand users worldwide. Police reported that hundreds of victims resided in 39 U.S. states, as well as in Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand... and Belgium.

Most were boys aged 13 to 15 years, and they had two children under three years of age who were induced to pose for sexually explicit photos and these pictures then were placed on the Internet, reported the Secretary of Homeland Security of the United States, Jeh Johnson.

The alleged perpetrators of these crimes were arrested and charged in March of one of the largest known operations of child exploitation in online history, Johnson confirmed during a press conference in Washington.

Clandestine users posed as girls, while searching for prey members of the most innocent and vulnerable groups of our society, regardless of their immediate or lasting damage they could cause to the victims and their families, the secretary added .

The investigation was headed by officials of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Inspection Service of the United States Postal Service.

The images and videos were broadcast on an illegal webpage on the Tor network, which maintains the anonymity of users to hide the place where they enter from and the servers. The network, operated by signature, operated from June 2012 until June 2013 and had over 27 thousand users, officials said.

Eleven of the 14 accused, including founder and executive director of the site, Jonathan Johnson, 27, are being processed in Louisiana, the remaining three in New York, Colorado and Wisconsin, respectively.

Source: Prensa Latina


Translated from the Portuguese version

By Olga Santos

Editor's note:

Around 230 million children under five years of age have not been registered, meaning they do not officially exist and are more easily excluded, at best, from healthcare and education systems. At worst, invisibility means that can fall prey to child trafficking rings and become trapped in pornography, prostitution and organ harvesting networks.

Statistics released by UNICEF reveal that globally in 2012 only forty per cent of babies were registered at birth, the lowest indices being recorded in Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia and globally, only one in seven children has a birth certificate. Without proper documentation, children can be excluded from public services and are more easily rendered victims of abuse and exploitation.

The scale of human trafficking and abuse is shocking: there are some 40 to 42 million people worldwide trapped in prostitution rings, most of these young women and children. Prostitution is also just one of the living hells that defenseless children can be trapped in. Other areas are child pornography - a multi-billion-dollar business, while the kidnapping or children or young adults for purposes of harvesting of tissues or organs, surrogacy or exploitation (sexual or otherwise) is worth some 32 billion USD a year.

Without proper documentation, it is easier for a child (and later, a young adult) to become invisible to the authorities and apart from the horrors mentioned above, they can they fall prey more easily to wanton acts of brutality and cruelty.

The numbers released in UNICEF's report on its 67th anniversary are difficult to comprehend: there are some 230 million children under five years of age who have not been registered - according to UNICEF that represents one in three children, meaning in turn that one third of the world's children do not exist officially - and are therefore more in danger of being exploited. They can more easily fall victims to child trafficking and illegal adoption rings.

The report Birth Registration - Right from the Start (*) claims that only 60 per cent of the babies born in 2012 were registered - meaning that forty per cent were not. In some countries, the figure is far lower: Somalia (3%), Liberia (4%), Ethiopia (7%), Zambia (14%), Chad (16%), UR Tanzania (16%), Yemen (17%), Guinea-Bissau (24%), Pakistan (27%), DR Congo (28%).


Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey



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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey