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Posts tagged ‘Human Trafficing’

Detective finds evidence of sex trafficking on OnlyFans: ‘Hiding behind that paywall’


Reported By Nicole Alcindor, CP Contributor| Thursday, July 22, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/detective-finds-evidence-of-sex-trafficking-on-onlyfans.html/

OnlyFans Panel Discussion
Detective Joseph Scaramucci (upper left) is joined by panelists Ron Eritano, Tim Palmbach and Linda Nealon for a discussion during the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation’s online summit on July 21, 2021. | Screenshot: Coalition to End Sex Trafficking

A detective and a panel of guest speakers at the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation’s online summit detailed Wednesday how the popular content subscription service platform OnlyFans, frequently used for pornographic purposes, fosters abuse and sex trafficking.

Detective Joseph Scaramucci from McLennan County Sheriff’s Office in Texas, known as one of the country’s most elite human trafficking investigators, shared with viewers how OnlyFans shows evidence of sex trafficking activity. He spoke about the signs that investigators look for when working to find evidence of sex trafficking.   

Scaramucci has been involved in both state and federal investigative work since 2004. He has participated in arresting over 460 sex buyers and has aided in the arrests of 149 individuals for human trafficking and related offenses, which led to the identification of 260 trafficking victims.   

“Targeting trafficking is going through and looking at the photographic visual indicators, being able to show the travel, and being able to get very strong indicators, whether it be financial transactions coupled with money movement,” he detailed. “And people in certain cities at certain times, [those] advertisements just happen to be posted at and then coupling that with are they advertising for OnlyFans as well.”

“… The beauty of OnlyFans is that many of them are hiding behind that paywall. … [They] are shooting video with their victims [on OnlyFans], and they are using that video to elevate themselves because that’s what [pimps] do … which is what drives me crazy about them.”

In several instances, Scaramucci said he has taken videos from OnlyFans and screen captures faces throughout the videos to build criminal cases against many. During the pandemic, OnlyFans has seen exponential growth. Last year, it claimed to have more than 30 million registered users and more than 450,000 creators. 

OnlyFans, headquartered in London, was launched in 2016 by British tech entrepreneur and investor Timothy Stokely, who has a background in the online adult world.  Since the launch, OnlyFans has become a haven for online pornographic material.

“This platform is unquestionably facilitating child sex abuse material and human trafficking of adults and minors alike, … enabling sexual abuse and exploitation,” said Linda Nealon, the director of corporate and strategic initiatives for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. 

“It’s critical that law enforcement, policymakers, service providers, parents and caregivers understand how this platform works and the many associated risks.” 

In October 2018, Ukrainian-American entrepreneur Leonid Radvinsky bought the majority stake in OnlyFans parent company, Fenix International Ltd. Radvinsky also has a history in the adult online world. He started a porn website called MyFreeCams through his holding company, Mfcxy, Inc. Radvinsky has other smaller pornography sites that he promotes.  

“As you can imagine, given both these gentlemen’s backgrounds, a large percentage of the content of OnlyFans is pornographic in nature, … at least 90% to our best estimate,” said Ron Eritano, representing the Normandy Group on behalf of Awareness is Prevention. “… The interesting thing about OnlyFans is it portrays itself as a much more mainstream website and platform due to connections with a number of celebrities, from Floyd Mayweather Jr., the boxer; to Cardi B, the entertainer. But make no mistake about it, OnlyFans is predominately and heavily an adult online pornographic website.” 

The OnlyFans layout, Eritano said, is much like that of Instagram and Facebook, with a homepage, options to grow subscribers or followers and a messaging feature. 

When using the platform as a subscriber, users must check off a box verifying they are over 18 and submit a credit card payment. However, the only method for creators to monitor age verification is when they request payment for video content they post. They must provide a selfie photo, which shows themselves in the picture and a government identification card. 

OnlyFans has partnered with at least three different organizations, which use an AI platform to work to verify whether or not users are the same person in their photo IDs, he said. 

The platform allows users to have an option to be a creator, a subscriber or both. When using OnlyFans, Eritano said, there is some free content made available. However, much content requires a fee to access, typically how hardcore pornography is made available. OnlyFans differs from its predecessors in the online space because of its paywall, which can often create trouble for law enforcement and those trying to monitor what is happening on the platform. The price structure is constantly shifting because the prices per creator are changing based on demand. 

Eritano said it is difficult for law enforcement to monitor the website because the paywall is expensive and not easily searchable due to very few search mechanisms. Greater responsibility is placed on the payment providers because they can police or influence OnlyFans and its interactions with its creators and the content they are posting.

One of the most common features of OnlyFans is the use of third parties in most videos and content posted. There is no age verification process in place for third parties. Age verification only takes place for the account in which the creator is sitting.

“This creates a huge loophole that continues to be utilized by many folks on OnlyFans today,” Eritano explained.

The other potentially dangerous factor about OnlyFans is its inner connectivity to other social media platforms through promotions. Those sites include Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok, Snapchat and Instagram. 

“Not only are they promoting OnlyFans, but they have recruiters actively recruiting folks to come make their millions, citing the few examples of folks who have made a lot of money, and encouraging a lot of folks, particularly young folks who are on a lot of those websites, to come on over to OnlyFans and have a similar experience,” Eritano added. 

“As you can imagine, that becomes pretty dangerous pretty quickly. Not only do they pay the recruiters on OnlyFans, the creators themselves are incentivized to add folks by getting a small payment in conjunction with anyone they add to the platform. OnlyFans continues to drive its membership based on those payment structures.”

OnlyFans receives a 20% cut of any content purchased on the site, and 80% of the money made from content purchased on the site stays with the creators. 

“Early on, some of these big celebrities jumped in, like Bella Thorn. And when they jumped in, she went a little towards the racy side and showed pictures that are maybe not allowed in some of the other sites. And all of a sudden, her subscribers would follow her and pay very substantial amounts of money,” added Tim Palmbach, the director of the University of New Haven Center For Forensic Investigations of Trafficking in Persons. 

“One of the problems with OnlyFans is not only is it just generally exploitative in nature, … there is layers of exploitation. … What it’s doing is grooming and finding our young, vulnerable children in the general social media, and convincing them to come on over … and then grooming them to do more and more sexually explicit, exploitive activity under a lie that they will make millions.”

Palmbach said some of the ways to stop the potential threat of OnlyFans is through banking, financing, working with law enforcement by reporting things that are witnessed and searching for potential dangers in other social media platforms.

Obama administration placed children with human traffickers, report says


January 28

URL of the original posting site: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/obama-administration-placed-children-with-human-traffickers-report-says/2016/01/28/39465050-c542-11e5-9693-933a4d31bcc8_story.html

The Obama administration failed to protect thousands of Central American children who have flooded across the U.S. border since 2011, leaving them vulnerable to traffickers and to abuses at the hands of government-approved caretakers, a Senate investigation has found.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, failed to do proper background checks of adults who claimed the children, allowed sponsors to take custody of multiple unrelated children, and regularly placed children in homes without visiting the locations, according to a 56-page investigative report released Thursday.

And once the children left federally funded shelters, the report said, the agency permitted their adult sponsors to prevent caseworkers from providing them post-release services.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) initiated the six-month investigation after several Guatemalan teens were found in a dilapidated trailer park near Marion, Ohio, where they were being held captive by traffickers and forced to work at a local egg farm. The boys were among more than 125,000 unaccompanied minors who have surged into the United States since 2011, fleeing violence and unrest in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.hell

The report concluded that administration “policies and procedures were inadequate to protect the children in the agency’s care.”you think

tyrantsHHS spokesman Mark Weber said in a statement that the agency would “review the committee’s findings carefully and continue to work to ensure the best care for the children we serve.”

The report was released ahead of a hearing Thursday before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which Portman co-chairs with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). It detailed nearly 30 cases where unaccompanied children had been trafficked after federal officials released them to sponsors or where there were “serious trafficking indicators.” 

“HHS places children with individuals about whom it knows relatively little and without verifying the limited information provided by sponsors about their alleged relationship with the child,” the report said.

For example, one Guatemalan boy planned to live with his uncle in Virginia. But when the uncle refused to take the boy, he ended up with another sponsor, who forced him to work nearly 12 hours a day to repay a $6,500 smuggling debt, which the sponsor later increased to $10,900, the report said.

A boy from El Salvador was released to his father even though he told a caseworker that his father had a history of beating him, including hitting him with an electrical cord. In September, the boy alerted authorities that his father was forcing him to work for little or no pay, the report said; a post-release service worker later found the boy was being kept in a basement and given little food. 

The Senate investigation began in July after federal prosecutors indicted six people in connection with the Marion labor-trafficking scheme, which involved at least eight minors and two adults from the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala.

One defendant, Aroldo Castillo-Serrano, 33, used associates to file false applications with the government agency tasked with caring for the children, and bring them to Ohio, where he kept them in squalid conditions in a trailer park and forced them to work 12-hour days, at least six days a week, for little pay. Castillo-Serrano has pleaded guilty to labor-trafficking charges and awaits sentencing in the Northern District of Ohio in Toledo.

The FBI raided the trailer park in December 2014, rescuing the boys, but the Senate investigation says federal officials could have discovered the scheme far sooner.

In August 2014, a child-welfare caseworker attempted to visit one of the children, who had been approved for post-release services because of reported mental-health problems, according to the report. The caseworker went to the address listed for the child, but the person who answered the door said the child didn’t live there, the report added. When the caseworker finally found the child’s sponsor, the sponsor blocked the caseworker from talking to the child. Instead of investigating further, the caseworker closed the child’s case file, the report said, citing “ORR policy which states that the Post Release Services are voluntary and sponsor refused services.”hell

That child was found months later, living 50 miles away from the sponsor’s home and working at the egg farm, according to the report. The child’s sponsor was later indicted.

VanSickle is a reporter for the Investigative Reporting Program, a nonprofit news organization at the University of California at Berkeley.

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