Screenshot of Defend Dignity video featuring a father explaining how his 13-year-old daughter was being groomed on Instagram
November 7, 2019

This Father Discovered His Daughter Was Being Groomed on Instagram

This father discusses his 13-year-old’s experience of being groomed on Instagram.

A stranger who looked similar to another teenage girl started talking to her in an innocent way. But then later they started asking if she or any of her friends wanted to go “on a date” particularly “if they need money.” The person also tried to find out the location of where the girl lived.

This example of grooming for likely sex trafficking was documented by Defend Dignity in Canada.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Instagram is facilitating rampant grooming for sex trafficking and child sexual abuse, as well as adult fetishization of young girls, on its platform.

In response, three anti-sexual exploitation organizations from three different countries–the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (United States), Collective Shout (Australia), and Defend Dignity (Canada)–launched the #WakeUpInstagram campaign to call on Instagram to improve its related policies and practices.

FAST FACTS:

  • According to survivor testimony, sex traffickers and child predators appear to be increasingly using Instagram to identify, groom, and exploit children.
  • Minors whose Instagram accounts are set to private can still receive unsolicited direct messages from strangers, which has led to several instances of sex trafficking and child sexual abuse.
  • There are countless comments by predatory adults on the photos of minors, where they leave sexually graphic comments, sexualize children, or solicit sex from children.

More proof and explanation of these problems can be found on our #WakeUpInstagram campaign page: EndSexualExploitation.org/Instagram

Join the international joint campaign to call on Instagram to make four vital policy improvements:

1) Instagram must change its settings so that strangers cannot direct message minors,

2) Instagram must fix its algorithm to proactively remove sexualizing or sexually graphic comments on minor’s photos,

3) Instagram must update its reporting system so that if someone is reporting a sexual comment on a minor’s post it can be reported as such. The “harassment/bullying“ selection does not capture the fact that these comments come from adults who are grooming/sexualizing/harassing a child.

4) Instagram should investigate accounts that are solely dedicated to posting images of minors, particularly those that are said to be ‘modeling’ pictures to ensure they are not promoting sexualized photos or attracting sexualized comments.

You can also take action to help prevent kids from being groomed on Instagram right here and now by filling out the form* below which will allow you to send an email to Instagram executives.

*If you’re outside the US, Canada, or Australia, you can use the address for the United Nations in New York to complete the form: 405 East 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10017 

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health crisis of pornography.

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