Human Trafficking Front News and Updates

News and Updates

Our partner, WeProtect Global Alliance, published the Global Threat Assessment 2023

October 17, 2023

Child sexual exploitation and abuse online is a growing global crisis, both in terms of scale and the evolving methods used by perpetrators. 

The volume of child sexual abuse material reports has increased by 87% since 2019, to just over 32 million reports from around the globe (The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, NCMEC).

WeProtect Global Alliance has recently released its latest Global Threat Assessment report, providing insights into the global landscape of child sexual exploitation and abuse online. This biennial publication serves as a crucial resource for improving the the global response to this issue.

This report shows that new forms of abuse, such as financial sexual extortion and AI-generated abuse imagery, underscore the urgent need for the implementation of Safety by Design principles, global alignment of internet regulations, and the application of public health strategies to violence prevention. Additionally, it is crucial to involve children's voices and adopt a child-centered approach to better understand the threat and bridge gaps in the response.

This report aims to encourage evidence-based action, recommend solutions and measures based on the evidence, and highlight opportunities to prevent abuse before it happens.

The findings presented in this report aligns with those discussed in Sex Trafficking of Children Online: Modern Slavery in Cyberspace, authored by the founder of Human Trafficking Front, Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts.

URGENT CALL TO ACTION:

1. Invest in public health approaches, prioritizing preventative measures, such as Safety by Design.

2. Center children’s rights and perspectives in designing interventions, providing children with age-appropriate resources on online safety.

3. Implement globally aligned legislation to prevent offenders from benefitting from legal loopholes and avoid tech companies making duplicative efforts in reporting, removing and blocking abusive content.

As a proud member of the Alliance, HTF welcomes the findings and recommendations for more investment in prevention and globally aligned online safety laws.

Full report available at: https://www.weprotect.org/global-threat-assessment-23/

Human Trafficking Front invited as an expert at the 19th meeting of the Council Working Group on Child Online Protection to the UN ITU in Geneva, Switzerland

October 10, 2023

Over the past weekend, the Council Working Group on Child Online Protection hosted its 19th meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

Human Trafficking Front's founder and director, Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts, was appointed as an expert on child online protection to the UN International Telecommunication Union.

At the meeting, she presented Human Trafficking Front’s program, Putting an End to the Online Sexual Exploitation of Children: Preventing Victimization and Strengthening Child Protection Systems.

At the meeting, we advocate for urgent action in the global community and by governments individually for combating online child sexual exploitation, a problem that is rapidly growing and with insufficient measures.

Countries have human rights obligations to protect children from harm online.

Our work with the Council is to help countries develop and implement effective legislation, policies, and proactive measures to protect children online.

Human Trafficking Front and the UN ITU have achieved remarkable milestones, and we look forward to years of collaboration to come. Together, we can create a safer digital world for our children.

Please take a look at the partner list of the Child Online Protection initiative to the UN ITU, a distinctive network of experts on children's rights and ICTs. Human Trafficking Front is a proud member. https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Cybersecurity/Pages/COP/COP.aspx

Human Trafficking Front participated in the Civil Society Reference Group meeting of the WeProtect Global Alliance, as one of over 40 experts

September 23, 2023

Human Trafficking Front is honored to have attended the WeProtect Global Alliance Civil Society Reference Group, chaired by ECPAT International, as one of over 40 experts to discuss:

  • a task and finish subgroup about involving children and survivors in developing solutions.
  • the plans for the launch of WPGA's next Global Threat Assessment.
  • a situation analysis and policy gap on child sexual abuse online.
  • the CESAGRAM (Comprehensive European strategy against grooming and missing) project.
  • the scale of financially motivated child sexual exploitation material production. 

Human Trafficking Front invited by WeProtect Global Alliance as one of over 40 experts to discuss and combat online child exploitation

June 28, 2023

Human Trafficking Front is honored to have been invited by WeProtect Global Alliance's Civil Society Reference Group, chaired by ECPAT International, as one of over 40 experts to discuss financial sexual extortion, the Luxembourg Guidelines initiative on terminology about child protection, and their new study, conducted by Economist Impact, on the exposure to online sexual harms of 2,000 18-year-olds in four European countries.


Human Trafficking Front delivers "Improving Child Safety on Social Media and Internet Platforms" webinars in collaboration with One Miami Church

In these webinars delivered in both English and Spanish, Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts educated parents and professionals in the One Miami Church congregation and its sister congregation in Broward County about  the dynamics of human trafficking, particularly when it occurs in cyberspace and targets children.

In addition, the invitation was further extended to the Miami Dade Public Schools to be able to educate and provide important information and tools to a broader audience at the District.

By improving responses, Human Trafficking Front strives to prevent these online crimes against children for exploitation, bring perpetrators to justice, and assist child victims, ultimately enhancing the protection of children online and offline.

May 24, 2023 - English Session

May 31, 2023 - Spanish Session

Human Trafficking Front provides a specialized best practices training for Homestead Police Department and its community partners

May 18, 2023

In this specialized training, Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts presented some best practice tools to 60 law enforcement professionals, including investigators, detectives, and other professionals working in Homestead Police Department's victim services unit.

Other attendees also included professionals who work at service provider agencies that are partners of Homestead Police Department including: MUJER, Le Jardin, Be Strong Intl., Miami-Dade County (Community Action and Human Services Department), Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, International Rescue Committee, Kristi House, and EnFamilia. 

Professionals who attended this course gained invaluable skills and knowledge, enhancing their ability to recognize warning signs, intervene early, investigate cases, and provide support to victims, particularly children.

This training course aimed to increase the effectiveness of current responses within the Miami-Dade County community, adapting strategies to new trends in criminality and improving coordination of efforts.

Human Trafficking Front delivers a specialized best practices training for the State of Florida Department of Children and Families

April 7, 2023

Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts delivered this best practices training to approximately 15 child protective investigators from the State of Florida Department of Children and Families to help them detect human trafficking and online crimes against children for sexual purposes and apply victim-centered approaches to respond to harm.

This training enhanced the knowledge and skills of these child protective investigators professionals to recognize and report signs of human trafficking and online child exploitation and abuse, and thereby increase support for child victims.

Human Trafficking Front is committed to continuing our efforts in combating human trafficking and online sexual exploitation of children, making a positive impact in our community and beyond.

Dr. Uitt's book, Sex Trafficking of Children Online: Modern Slavery in Cyberspace, on display at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) 2023 conference

March 15-18, 2023

The book, Sex Trafficking of Children Online: Modern Slavery in Cyberspace, written by the founder and director of Human Trafficking Front, Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts, was on display at the Lexington Books booth at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) 2023 conference which took place on March 15-18 in Lanham, MD.

Human Trafficking Front participates at the 2023 Career & Informational Fair at St. Thomas University College of Law

February 2, 2023

Human Trafficking Front was invited by St. Thomas University College of Law to its 2023 Career & Informational Fair, alongside 36 federal, state, local & public service organizations, and private firms, and over 70 representatives from their respective offices.

This event was organized by the institution to offer their students an opportunity to meet, chat, and exchange information with participating organizations anf firms, including but not limited to: CAIR Florida, Church World Service, City of Coral Gables, City of Miami Office of the City Attorney, Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A., Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, 3rd Region (RC3) (Miami, FL), DCF Children Legal Services (Statewide), Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, Guardian ad Litem Office (West Palm Beach), Guardian ad Litem Office (Miami), Guardian ad Litem Office (Broward), Human Trafficking Front, Jackson Lewis P.C., Law Office of the Public Defender, 17th Judicial Circuit (Broward County, FL), Law Offices of the Public Defender - 10th Judicial Circuit, Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., Miami Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, Miami-Dade Public Defender Office, Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office - Child Support Program, Office of Criminal Conflict Regional Counsel RC-4, Office of General Counsel Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Office of the State Attorney 17th Judicial Circuit, Public Defender's Office, 15th Circuit, Put Something Back, State Attorney's Office 15th Judicial Circuit, Thomas & LoCicero, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Dept of Housing & Urban Development, U.S. Immigration and Beyond PLLC, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. Department of Homeland Security/OPLA (Miami, FL), United States Air Force JAG, US Coast Guard, USCIS - Miami and Caribbean District, Weiss Serota Helman Cole + Bierman.

Human Trafficking Front participates in the 4th Annual Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Summit conducted at the Miami-Dade College Medical Campus

January 30, 2023

Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts delivered this specialized educational presentation to train professionals from Miami-Dade College Medical Campus, in particular, on the risks of children in cyberspace.

This educational presentation featured the esteemed Honorable Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade County State Attorney, as the keynote speaker.

Dr. Uitts discussed emerging and established threats to children on the internet, including online grooming and sexual and financial extortion of children online.

Dr. Beatriz Susana also shared evidence-based strategies and current efforts to protect children from forms of exploitation on the internet.

The event was delivered as a hybrid summit via Zoom, with approximately 500 attendees including professionals and students from the Miami-Dade College, Medical Campus.

Human Trafficking Front conducts an educational presentation at the 9th Annual Miami-Dade County Human Trafficking Conference

January 27, 2023

In this specialized educational best-practices presentation, Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts discussed human trafficking as a human rights issue, a civil rights issue in particular, and how the elements of child sex trafficking can be captured in cyberspace.

This prevention presentation educated professionals, mainly victim advocates and professionals delivering services to victims of violence (domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and human trafficking) from Miami Dade County’s Community Action and Human Services Department, to recognize and report potential threats to children online and on the need to promote coordinated and collected efforts involving the government, service provider agencies, community organizations, and families in the creation of a safer online environment for children.

Human Trafficking Front is proud of Choice Reviews' selection of the book Sex Trafficking of Children Online: Modern Slavery in Cyberspace for review and recommendation

January 10, 2023

The Team of Human Trafficking Front and our founder and director, Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts, who is the author of the Book Sex Trafficking of Children Online: Modern Slavery in Cyberspace, have the honor and pleasure to inform that the book was selected by Choice Reviews for review and recommendation.

This critical evaluation by Choice, an authoritative source for the evaluation of scholarly resources, recognizes the book's new, important knowledge and unique contribution to the field.

While Choice only selects 25-30% of scholarly books for critical evaluation, the book had merit for review and was recommended for undergraduates through faculty, practitioners.

We are pleased with this review and recommendation from the leader in academic reviews, Choice, whose primary audiences are academic libraries, scholars, and the reading public.

Find the review and recommendation below.

Dr. Uitts and Human Trafficking Front work with the firm belief that together we can advance international and national laws, policies, and responses to prevent and address the scourge of this phenomenon against children in digital environments and prioritize child protection. 

The Book Sex Trafficking of Children Online: Modern Slavery in Cyberspace is available from your favorite bookstore and online retailers. 


Human Trafficking Front's efforts to combat child trafficking reviewed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office

December 14, 2022

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed Human Trafficking Front's federal efforts to combat child trafficking by examining:

(1)  the extent to which Human Trafficking Front coordinates efforts to raise public awareness of child trafficking, and provide victim services to children and youth

(2) the extent to which Human Trafficking Front monitors the performance of and evaluate selected programs that are designed to raise awareness of child trafficking and provide victim services, and

(3) the challenges that Human Trafficking Front and other stakeholders and agencies face while implementing programs to raise awareness of child trafficking and provide victim services, and how to address these challenges.

Human Trafficking Front interviewed at LSU Law Symposium by BRProud.com

October 28, 2022

After presenting at the LSU Law Symposium, Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts was also interviewed by Mrs. Jacquelyn Kisin from the local news channel in Baton Rouge, BRProud, to further discussed the need to advance responses to child sex trafficking through digital technologies.

In the interview, Dr. Uitts highlighted that the global spread of technology and explained how the complex nature of these crimes present new challenges to the adequate identification of child victims and incidents by law enforcement investigators or victim service providers.

Human Trafficking Front participates at LSU Law Symposium "Improving Criminal Justice Responses to Sex Trafficking." 

October 28, 2022

Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts participated as a speaker at the Symposium "Improving Criminal Justice Responses to Sex Trafficking" at LSU Law.

The Symposium was presented by the George W. and Jean H. Pugh Institute for Justice and took place in the McKernan Auditorium at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center.

Louisiana First Lady Donna Edwards joined legal scholars, government officials, trafficking survivors and survivor service providers at the Symposium. Edwards delivered her remarks to open the Symposium by speaking about Louisiana’s Human Trafficking Prevention Resource Center and advocacy campaign called “Stop Trafficking LA: Human Trafficking is R.E.A.L.,” with the acronym standing for Recognizing the signs, Educating others, Acting immediately, and Listening to victims and survivors, which she and Gov. John Bel Edwards officially launched in January.

Dr. Uitts' presentation at this important event focused on Understanding Sex Trafficking of Minors in the Context of Digital Technology.

Dr. Uitts explored the phenomena, legislative challenges, and recommendations for improving the legal response. 



Human Trafficking Front presents at the Miami Police Training Center

October 19, 2022

Human Trafficking Front provided a specialized Human Trafficking training at the Miami Police Training Center, City of Miami Police Department.

The training was designed to equip law enforcement personnel and victim advocates  to increase their knowledge and skills to more effectively identify the crime, including law and policy analysis, and to serve victims and assist them in addressing their needs.

Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts holds an expert interview with the National Police of Colombia

September 12, 2022

Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts held an expert interview with the National Police of Colombia. The expert interview was conducted by Captain María Claudia RuyDiaz. The expert interview counted with the attendance of Dr. Patricia Castaño from the Escuela de Postgrados de Policía "Miguel Antonio Lleras Pizarro," Master in Criminology and Victimology.

During the expert interview, Dr. Uitts discussed dynamics of online sexual offenders, as well as prevention and government policies and practices.

How to recognize signs of online child sexual exploitation, the importance of reporting incidents and judicial investigations of these offenders, and the need to criminalize grooming of children when committed exclusively online were some of the points discussed by Dr. Uitts during the expert interview.


Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts officially published her book Sex Trafficking of Children Online: Modern Slavery in Cyberspace

July 20, 2022

We are pleased to announce that our Founder and Director, Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts, has officially published her book Sex Trafficking of Children Online: Modern Slavery in Cyberspace. The book is published under the Applied Criminology Across the Globe series, Rowman & Littlefield, 2022.

The book offers new, important knowledge and a unique contribution to the field with a conceptual and contextual analysis of online child sexual exploitation in light of human trafficking and modern slavery.

It provides concrete recommendations to formulate and improve policies, strengthen national child protection systems, and advance national legislation aimed at criminalizing these new crimes against children, with strong safeguards that guarantee freedom of expression, privacy, and the free flow of information for all individuals, including children.

This timely book is a call for awareness and further action that highlights the urgent need to address this complex and evolving problem that requires creating and adapting international and national legal provisions to current realities.

Sex Trafficking of Children Online: Modern Slavery in Cyberspace provides insight that is both interesting and useful for academics, policymakers, prosecutors, practitioners, students, and the general public. The book is available at your Favorite Bookstore and Online Retailers. Visit our Resources page for a list of places to purchase it.

For international audiences, some marketplaces include: UK, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary,  Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and AmazonGlobal.  

AVAILABLE NOW 

Hardback and eBook

"This book is a must-read for all interested in understanding one of the calamities of our time and the positive efforts to resolve the problem. Educators, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, students, parents, and the general public will find this book engaging and thought-provoking."

- Roy Balleste, Stetson University College of Law

SPECIAL OFFER: Click below and use promo code RLFANDF30 for a 30% discount, which can be applied to orders worldwide. Offer expires (August 1, 2023).


Human Trafficking Front is included in the Directory of the National Human Trafficking Hotline

June 13, 2022

We at Human Trafficking Front are very honored and excited to have our organization listed as a resource for community members, survivors, and professionals seeking training and support on the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

With this inclusion, Human Trafficking Front began receiving referrals from individuals identifying our organization as a resource for education and training nationwide. For more information on the organizations listed in the Hotline’s Public  Referral Directory, visit: https://humantraffickinghotline.org/training-resources/referral-directory.


Human Trafficking Front launches its campaign "Putting an End to the Online Sexual Exploitation of Children: Preventing Victimization and Strengthening Child Protection Systems"

February 15, 2022

We are excited to launch the campaign Putting an End to the Online Sexual Exploitation of Children: Preventing Victimization and Strengthening Child Protection Systems.

In an effort to promote a holistic approach to online child protection, Human Trafficking Front has thoughtfully designed this campaign.

This initiative aims to build the capacity of relevant professionals serving children and youth and empower parents and families with the knowledge and tools required to increase detection and reporting of online child sexual exploitation and implement trauma-informed and victim-centered approaches to this crime.

Bearing in mind that children's rights offline must also be protected online, the campaign focuses on prevention and outreach to better protect children from online sexual exploitation.

This campaign includes delivering specialized trainings with the latest research and disseminating evidence-based materials to create a safer online world for children and teens and improve policies and strategies related to online child protection.

Advocacy tools and best practice resources will be in English and Spanish to ensure a broader reach of the beneficiaries of this campaign.


Human Trafficking Front participates at U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program

April 29, 2021

Human Trafficking Front is proud to participate in the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program: Combating Trafficking in Persons, A Regional Project.

Considering the importance of partnerships and collaborations with government institutions and civil society, including academia, to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, Human Trafficking Front is pleased to participate in this important session with the John J. Brunetti Human Trafficking Academy of St. Thomas University College of Law and Global Ties Miami.

Dr. Uitts participated in her capacity as an Associated Expert from the Human Trafficking Academy of St. Thomas Law in this live event whose participants included government officials, law enforcement, prosecutors, and non-governmental organizations from the Americas region.

As part of our advocacy efforts, this event was a unique opportunity to enhance victim-centered responses and advance investigations and prosecutions of human trafficking.

Human Trafficking Front presents at Organization of Ibero-American States

December 14, 2020

In collaboration with Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (Organización de Estados Iberoamericanos para la Educación, Ciencia y Cultura), Human Trafficking Front is pleased to provide a specialized training on Understanding Online Child Sexual Exploitation: Cybercrime.

The online training is aimed at first professionals from different countries in the American Region to expand their knowledge of the different tools applied to criminal investigation and criminal prosecution of cybercrimes.

The training participants strengthened their capacities for the prevention and protection of children in a human rights-based approach.


Human Trafficking Front holds an interview for Univision to commemorate the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

July 30, 2020

Human Trafficking Front is pleased to be interviewed by Univision, Buenos Dias America in commemoration of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

During the interview, Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts discussed about what human trafficking is and why it is considered a form of modern slavery.

The interview was a unique opportunity to inform the audience in terms of differentiating different realities around the phenomenon.

For example, the difference between this crime and smuggling of migrants, the vulnerabilities of victims, and why it is so difficult for them to ask for help.

Human Trafficking Front is proud of this interview which educated the audience on different tools, including the use of technology traffickers use to recruit, exploit and control victims, as well as our Organization's efforts to advance prevention and the fight against human trafficking.


Human Trafficking Front holds an interview for Univision, Buenos Dias America

June 3, 2020

Human Trafficking Front is honored to be interviewed by Univision, Buenos Dias America, to discuss the potential increase in online child sexual exploitation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mass school closures and physical distancing measures have contributed to making online platforms and online communities essential to creating a sense of normalcy.

The United Nations reported on April 3 that COVID-19 had prompted at least 188 countries to temporarily close their schools, a decision that had consequently impacted at least 90% of the world's student population.

While parents and children turn to digital solutions to support children's learning, socialization, and play or recreation, the Internet can also expose them to risks such as sexual exploitation.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported a 106% increase in reports received on the CyberTipline nationwide for potential incidents of online child exploitation.

These reports include suspicious incidents of child pornography, child sex trafficking, and online solicitation of children - going from almost 1 million reports in March 2019 to just over 2 million in March of this year (2020).

During the interview, Dr. Uitts discussed risk factors, different types of exploitation, red flags, the impact on child victims, tips for parents and guardians to prevent the issue, and how to respond and report incidents.

Human Trafficking Front presents at Rotary Club of Coral Gables

April 8, 2020

Human Trafficking Front is proud to speak at Rotary Club of Coral Gables.

The presentation addressed the problem of human trafficking as a local problem, including identifying trends in this crime and the role each of us plays in combating it.

During the session, participants increased their knowledge and skills in recognizing the signs, the need for early intervention in exploitation crimes, and information to connect survivors to services.

Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts also referred to the need to strengthen actions to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse in the context of ICTs.


Our Founder and Director, Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts is recognized as Distinguished Alumni

March 18, 2020

Human Trafficking Front is honored to share that our Founder and Director, Dr. Beatriz Susana Uitts, is recognized as a distinguished alumni of the LL.M. and the J.S.D programs in Intercultural Human Rights at St. Thomas University College of Law.

Dr. Uitts is very grateful and privileged with such recognition and those sentiments are expressed in her own words as follows: 

"In a meaningful intellectual dialogue, the LL.M. and the J.S.D. programs in Intercultural Human Rights not only supplemented my legal career, but they equipped me with much needed tools to lead positive local and global change and defend the inalienability of human rights of every person. As a student in the renowned LL.M. and the J.S.D. programs, I had the exceptional opportunity to also work as Graduate Fellow with the Human Trafficking Academy of St. Thomas Law School, a pioneer anti-trafficking institution in South Florida. My work with the Academy and my doctoral research on human trafficking inspired me to found Human Trafficking Front, a research and advocacy non-profit organization geared at increasing trafficking prevention efforts. In an unparalleled depth and breadth, the programs provided me with the legal foundations and practical methods to address the challenges of this 21st century towards an order where everyone has the possibility to thrive and to reach their full potential in an order of human dignity."

You can read the complete piece in the link: https://www.stu.edu/law/human-rights/students-alumni/


Human Trafficking Front presents at Miami-Dade Police Department

February 13, 2020

Human Trafficking Front is privileged to provide a workshop on Cybercrime with an emphasis on the sexual exploitation of children at Miami-Dade Police Department. 

The workshop addressed the phenomenon of crimes committed against children through the use of digital technologies and focused on the prevention, protection, and prosecution of these crimes.

Dr. Uitts strongly emphasized the need to criminalize all types of sexual offenses against children committed in cyberspace.

Participants gained new knowledge and skills to more effectively identify these offenders and assist child victims with services and support.