Kitchener-Waterloo

Child exploitation often disguised as 'child model' ads on Craigslist, says expert

Craigslist ads soliciting or seeking young models are often veiled code for child pornography, says a senior analyst with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. On Thursday, Hamilton Police rescued a seven-year-old girl after her mother's boyfriend offered her up for sexual abuse on the site.
10,000 decisions from the NS Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal were published in error in May, disclosing names and very personal family and health information. (Getty Images)

Craigslist ads soliciting or seeking young models are often code for child pornography, says a senior analyst with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. 

"There are certain terms that the offending community might know," Stephen Sauer told CBC KW's The Morning Edition on Monday. 

Red flags are ads that specifically use terms like "young" or "teen."

"They're really not explicitly stating what they're wanting in those ads but it's once people respond to those ads that they start to really offer details into what they're offering and the types of offences they want to commit," Sauer said. 

Last week, Hamilton Police rescued a seven-year-old girl after her mother's boyfriend offered her up for sexual abuse on Craigslist. 

The child had been assaulted by multiple people, and images of her were taken and shared online as well, police said. 

Dozens of charges were laid. The child's mother has been charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life, and her boyfriend is facing 40 sexual abuse-related charges. 

Charges were also laid against six other individuals, including a 38-year-old Waterloo man, charged with sexual assault, sexual interference, making child pornography and  distributing child pornography and a 48-year-old Waterloo woman, who was charged with sexual assault, sexual interference, making child pornography and possessing child pornography.

Craigslist not only marketplace

Craigslist isn't the only marketplace where child sex is being sold, Sauer said. 

"You have communications through all the major social media services like Facebook and Twitter," he said.

"You have communication that occurs in more closed networks through specific sites that are dedicated to individuals who have a sexual interest in children and then you have communications on the dark web." 

Sauer suggested if people see something suspicious online, that they think could signal a child is at risk, to report those incidents to Cybertip.ca, the national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children. 

He discouraged people against taking proactive action, like engaging or baiting the individual, on their own. 

With files from CBC KW's The Morning Edition

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