A recent article published by NBC News discussed how the sexual exploitation of children, referred to as cybersex trafficking, is increasing—fueled by inexpensive technology, untraceable online payment systems, and criminals who are willing to reduce themselves to the lowest levels of human depravity to make money.
Foster care and parenting expert Dr. John Degarmo, in a Huffington Post article, said “Child pornography has found a welcome home on the internet, and is in truth a multi-billion dollar online 100,000 sites dedicated to the crime, and is one of the fastest growing online businesses.”
I am sickened by the fact that I am writing this article right now. I can think of no crime more heinous than sexually exploiting a child. Especially as a father of two, this hits all too close to home. Also, as an expert witness, I have testified in cases involving child pornography and have sadly witnessed first-hand the damage caused by this crime.
There are simply no words to express the revulsion you feel when having to subject yourself to images and videos that will forever be burned into your mind. But you persist for the sake of those kids … those lonely, scared, abused kids who just want it to stop. It’s also the reason why, as abhorrent as this topic is, it’s so important to bring attention to it however we can.
Thorn, an organization dedicated working with government agencies and private sector companies in combatting child exploitation, has published some distributing statistics on its website.
- Child sexual abuse images and videos found online involve both boys and girls from 0-18 years old.
- In an assessment of reports to its tipline, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection found that children under 12 years old were depicted in 78% of the images and videos assessed by its team, and 63% of those children were under eight years of age.
- Among that same material, they found that 80% of the children were girls, while 20% were boys.
- Multiple images that depict the same child become a record of abuse and can be shared many times over, far beyond the instance of abuse, resulting in further trauma into adulthood.
Taking a Strong Stand
Now that you are likely sick to your stomach, hopefully I can help you to understand that there are companies out there full of moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, and friends who are doing something about these atrocities.
I’m proud to say Nuix is one of those organizations.
At the core of our mission is enabling investigations of all sorts to take place with unparalleled speed, scale, and accuracy. In addition, we strive to ensure that data of all types, from social media to emails, from databases to documents, and from log files to registry hives, is understood, accessible, and fully indexable so that investigations, regardless of who is conducting them or why, can take place faster than ever.
For all of us at Nuix, this is a relentless pursuit for which there is no finish line, no time to call it quits, and no expectation of the pace slowing down. To be honest, we like it that way … bring it on! As technology is further integrated into every aspect of our daily lives, from the cars we drive to the tech we wear, there will be an ever-increasing stream of data types in ever-increasing volumes. Moore’s Law (the concept first introduced in 1965 by Gordon E. Moore, which basically states that processing power—roughly measured by the number of transistors on a computer chip—doubles every couple of years) is alive and well, moving at a pace we’ve never seen in our history.
Soon, the rate of innovation will cease to be an upward arch, and will more resemble the trajectory of a rocket, almost completely vertical. What was impossible just two years ago is now commonplace, and what is impossible today will be commonplace two years from now. Sadly, that includes crimes which, as I’ve already said, will be fueled by the technology we so richly embrace.
So, the next time you hear about the exploitation of a child or are reminded that child pornography is a growing stain on the fabric of civilization, know that there are companies out there that are the good guys. Alongside government agencies, law enforcement, public advocacy groups like Thorn and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and other like-minded private sector companies, Nuix is creating some pretty amazing technology of our own that will have a material impact on catching the perpetrators of these most heinous crimes, and bringing them to justice.