CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Jarecki & Carlson on Technology and International Child Abuse

John Jarecki and Andrea Carlson (University of Dayton School of Law and University of Dayton School of Law) have posted The Trouble with Tech: How Information and Communication Technologies are Making the Problem of International Child Abuse Worse, and What We Can Do About It (Penn State Public Policy Journal, Volume 1 (Spring 2023)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The exponential development of technology in recent years has enabled instant international communication across once-vast distances, moving continents closer together. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in particular have achieved this effect; today both governments and non-state actors have the power to influence events occurring beyond their national borders. In the context of child sex tourism (CST), which the United Nations defines as “the exploitation of children for sexual purposes by people who travel locally or internationally to engage in sexual activities with children,” the disastrous consequences of these technological developments are as self-evident as any serviceable benefits they yield to law enforcement. ICTs worsen the problem globally and facilitate abuse at every step, enabling culprits to groom and procure children on the Internet, communicate with other offenders, and even distribute or live stream instances of abuse.
To be sure, the international nature of this issue has meant that perpetrators are more easily able to slip through the cracks of different enforcement schemes. In the face of the worsening problem of CST, countries have been slow to act upon existing treaty obligations and to enforce extraterritorial laws concerning CST. Considering the devastating role technology has played in the proliferation of CST crimes, however, the fundamental question becomes: how has the development of ICTs exacerbated the problem of CST, and how could the same technologies better empower law enforcement to mitigate the problem? This paper will explore that question in a nuanced fashion. Section II reviews the sources of law relevant to CST prevention and prosecution and considers ways in which ICT and CST converge. Section III contends that law enforcement must make better use of technologies to mitigate the problem of CST and offers key policy recommendations for both public and private actors to better achieve this end. Finally, Section IV briefly concludes.

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