Grooming and Sex Trafficking on Instagram

Examples of Coercion in Posting Pornographic Videos or Ads for Sex Acts on Instagram

Several 15-year-old girls who survived sex trafficking told NCOSE that girls were often forced to perform sex acts, or nude dances, on Instagram Live in a manner that made it look as if they were consenting during the act even though their trafficker stood in the corner the whole time.

Another young girl shared her story online about how being direct messaged by a pimp on Instagram as a minor eventually led to her being sold for sex on the streets. https://youtu.be/itqJIr3Osaw

Another anonymous girl shared with NCOSE that she was solicited on Instagram to send nude images, and after she did, that person used it to blackmail her into sex trafficking.

A California man has been charged with sex trafficking after forcing a San Jose woman he met on Instagram into a life of prostitution all over the western United States, authorities say.

A Texas pimp/trafficker created a dedicated Instagram page for selling 15-20 women for sex. “Get a glimpse of the life of these Macknificent ladies!” he wrote. He also created a Facebook page for the women with a “book now” option. Police referred to the women in his Instagram posts as being “controlled” by him. According to Felicia Grantham, human trafficking coordinator for the Fort Worth Police Department, there have been “53 at least semi-identified victims.” https://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/crime/article219689045.html

A Nashville man was been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison in a sex trafficking case involving a 13-year-old girl. He met Instagram in 2016 and recruited her on that platform. https://www.newschannel5.com/news/nashville-man-gets-15-years-in-child-sex-trafficking-case

Examples of Grooming/Soliciting Direct Messages

Domestic sex trafficking survivor Courtney Litvak has spoken openly about how her grooming started through Instagram direct messaging and Snapchat private messaging and an The Epoch Times article about her story reported data from Tammy Toney-Butler, an anti-human trafficking consultant for Path2Freedom, which shows that 55% of domestic sex trafficking survivors who entered “the life” in 2015 or later met their trafficker for the first time using a mobile app, website, or text. https://www.theepochtimes.com/trafficking_3152248.html

Two Californian youths aged 15 and 17 narrowly avoided becoming victims of a predator they met on Instagram thanks to an American Airlines agent. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/instagram-sex-trafficking-plot-stopped-airline-agent-denice-miracle-a8216726.html

A child advocate ally created a 15-year-old girl account, which liked a few celebrities and “cute boys” accounts.  Within two hours she got a message from a man soliciting for nude pictures and send her some.

One father uncovered a sex-trafficking scheme where an Instagram account posing as a young boy would contact young girls, including his daughters: “Bruce was a “friend” to quite a few of the girls in my daughter’s circle of friends and they would chat daily. Bruce also had many friends that were being introduced to the circle and they all began to chat through Instagram…he unknowingly was luring young girls into his circle as prey for the men to pick and choose from. The circle of Bruce’s friend list reached the globe and his over 2k followers were nothing more than a smorgasbord of young unaware children these men were chatting with.” https://faithit.com/dad-sex-trafficking-scheme-daughter-instagram/

A young college student told NCOSE there are accounts on Instagram targeting her sorority friends attempting to groom them for commercial sexual exploitation in a “sugar baby” relationship. Given insurmountable student debt facing many college students, they are particularly economically vulnerable to this kind of sexual exploitation.

Police: Alleged Gwinnett sex trafficker met runaways on Instagram https://www.ajc.com/news/local/police-alleged-gwinnett-sex-trafficker-met-runaways-instagram/YJtpHdkRvR0Ust7395tO3O/

Rhode Island parents’ daughter went missing, and they “learned from her friends a few hours later that she had been communicating with a man on Instagram. At once, Hewartson said he realized they were dealing with a sex trafficker or pedophile. The sheriffs elevated the case from that of a missing person to a suspected wilful abduction. A neighbor and a family member reported a bearded man in a black car slowly passing back and forth along the country road at the time the teen went missing….They couldn’t reach anyone at Instagram to ask for assistance…On Tuesday morning, they tracked the teenager to Warwick.” https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20190808/father-of-abducted-teen-girl-grateful-for-second-chance–audio

This father in the video below discusses his 13-year-old’s experience 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.

Report by BBC: “Slave markets found on Instagram and other apps” https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50228549

 

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