The Common Good

Child Exploitation in a High-Tech World

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In the Dominican Republic, an estimated 10 percent of children are sexually exploited. According to Project Rescue, the average age around the world for a child sex slave is 13, and the average cost for a child sex slave is $150.


But child sexual exploitation is not only an overseas issue. According to U.S. law enforcement, there are at least 20,000 children manipulated and forced to engage in prostitution on a daily basis -- the actual number is unknown. What is known is that child sexual violence and exploitation has been growing dramatically around the world for the past couple of decades.


Advances in technology and communication have served to exacerbate the problem. But contrary to popular opinion, child pornography is not confined to seedy Web sites. Mainstream Web sites, such as Craig's List, allow for "barely legal" adult offers.


In the U.S., the high demand and easy money is a lure for vulnerable children. In 2005, The New York Times told Justin Berry's story. At 13 years old, Justin entered a life he eventually realized he would not be able to leave without significant intervention. Thankfully, he did obtain the help he needed. But his story exemplifies the evolution and ease of child exploitation in a high-tech world. The article stated,



A six-month investigation into this corner of the Internet found that such sites had emerged largely without attracting the attention of law enforcement or youth protection organizations

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