Children sold for sex on popular classified ads sites

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Thousands of children who are trafficked for sex are bought and sold online from the same sites many people use to look for an apartment or buy used furniture.

According to a new report from Thorn, a group that studies the role of technology in sex trafficking, 70 percent of sex trafficking survivors were advertised online.

The report details internet privacy right make it easy for online child sex traffickers to remain anonymous.

Human trafficking is $32 billion a year industry, according to the Justice Department.

On Wednesday night, the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition met and focused on how people in the community can help combat human trafficking.

And according to the CMSHTC, the most common way children are trafficked in Missouri, more specifically Boone County, is by online ads.

"Most of what I'm aware of has been online, investigations of online advertising on Backpage or Craigslist or other services online," said Deb Humes with the CMSHTC.

Sites like Craigslist and Backpage are often used as a digital black market for child sex trafficking, according to the Thorn report.

The CMSHTC said they work closely with law enforcement to crack down on the problem.

"We've made partnerships with the sheriff's department, the Columbia Police Department and the Jefferson City Police Department," Humes said.

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