An Introduction to the CyberTipline
At Dressember, one of our main missions is to raise awareness on the issue of human trafficking, because we know that a large component in the fight to end slavery is to know the signs of trafficking.
In the United States, there is the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and Hotline, but another resource to utilize is the CyberTipline, which aims to protect children from the risks that result from the exploitation that exists on the Internet. This includes access to illegal content, chat room messages, or unwanted emails.
Some individuals use these means of communication to prey on children of the Information Age, which is where technology gives individuals more access to more information, often posing as one of their peers. To help with the problem, private and public sector leaders formed the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, also known as the NCMEC and formed the CyberTipline in 1998.
The CyberTipline accepts reports of incidents involving children. This includes child pornography, enticement of sexual acts, child prostitution, sex tourism, molestation, obscene materials sent to children, and more.
The Cybertipline typically starts out with a child reporting to their family of activity happening online. After that, the family can fill out an online incident report at www.cybertipline.com, which is then reviewed by the Exploited Child Unit.
More than 12.7 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation have been made to the CyberTipline between 1998 and June 2016 from law enforcement, teachers, Internet Service Providers, and families. CyberTipline has had many success stories, one of those involving a 44-year old man who was pursuing a 13-year-old online.
According to the NCMEC, an initial report said the man was going to pick the child up at the airport, and an analyst’s search showed the man was a convicted child sex offender. Because of the report, the suspect was apprehended before the child was harmed with the help of law-enforcement and the analyst’s findings. Without the tip, the ending could have turned out differently.
Because of the report, the suspect was apprehended before the child was harmed with the help of law-enforcement and the analyst’s findings.
According to the NCMEC, there are many ways individuals can help fight off the problem, including making people aware of how the Internet is one of the many ways children are targeted and sexually victimized. The best way to prevent the problem is to watch for abusers, understand the potential dangers of the Internet, and in turn, report them as soon as possible by using the CyberTipline.
Resources like this remind us that sexual exploitation is not just a physical form, or even something happening overseas. This is happening in the United States, and it is a growing, continuous problem. With individuals working together, it can be stopped. Having the CyberTipline makes it easier for officials to investigate and crack down on the offenders, and thus save children who would be in harm’s way.
At Dressember, we commend NCMEC for their hard work to help educate others on Internet Safety and raise awareness for exploited children, both nationally and worldwide. To find more information about NCMEC’s services offered by their Exploited Child Unit, visit www.cybertipline.com or call 1-800-843-6578.
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About the Author
Miranda Lintzenich is an analog girl stuck in a digital world. A little quirkier than most, Miranda enjoys 70s music, odd clothing styles, working at her school newspaper and serving pizza on the side.