Donna M. Hughes
and information technologies for
sexual exploitation of women and
New communications and information technologies have created a global revolution in communications, access to information, and media delivery. These new communications and information technologies are facilitating the sexual exploitation of women and girls locally, nationally and transnationally. The sexual exploitation of women and children is a global human rights crisis that is being escalated by the use of new technologies.1 Using new technologies, sexual predators and pimps stalk women and children. New technical innovations facilitate the sexual exploitation of women and children because they enable people to easily buy, sell and exchange millions of images and videos of sexual exploitation of women and children.
These technologies enable sexual predators to harm or exploit women and children efficiently and anonymously. The affordability and access to global communications technologies allow users to carry out these activities in the privacy of their home.
The increase of types of media, media formats, and applications diversifies the means by which sexual predators can reach their victims. This paper will not attempt to categorize all the types and uses of this new technology; however, it will describe the most common and newest of these technologies, and how they are used for the sexual exploitation of women and children.2
1 For the purpose of this paper, I use the term 'sexual exploitation' to refer to trafficking
for purposes of sexual exploitation, commercial sex acts, such as prostitution,
pornography, and live sex shows, stalking for purposes of sexual assault or abuse, and all
forms of child sexual abuse.
2 This paper is not about strict legal definitions, nor is it about the law. In fact, many
experiences of women and children fall into gray areas, rather than conform to existing
definitions. Also, much of the research on sexual exploitation and the internet focuses on
images, and the people in the images are rarely available for interviews to describe their
experiences, their consent or coercion, their freedom or slavery. The extent to which the
experiences of these women and children meet existing legal criteria for crimes is beyond
the scope of this article.