For State Attorneys General, the Human Trafficking Investigations Should Start at YouTube

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is one of the 47 state Attorneys General who is leading the AG’s initiative against human trafficking of young girls, especially online:

General Bondi emphasizes the need to make parents aware of the dangers that young people face online that parents may be completely unaware of:

[W]e recognize that awareness is a key component to stopping human trafficking, which is why we launched a statewide campaign called “From Instant Message to Instant Nightmare.” The campaign is geared toward informing parents and children about safe Internet use to prevent human traffickers from using the Internet to recruit victims.

The 47 Attorneys General would do well to take a page from their fellow AG, Jim Hood, the Mississippi Attorney General who is pursuing Google for violating Google’s nonprosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and profiting from the sale of advertising for illegal drugs online.

Nowhere is Google’s involvement with trafficking more obvious and easier to fix than in Google’s YouTube property.  Here’s an example.  Try searching for “sugar daddy” on YouTube and you’ll likely come across this video by “Vicky Darling” in the hundreds of thousands of search results:

sugar baby vicky

Vicky, it seems, is addicted to her Sugar Daddy and has a video that tells girls how to get “out of the broke bitch statistic list” by clicking on a link embedded under “Vicky’s” YouTube video:

You will also find videos like this one “Dating 101: Sugar Daddy/Baby Relationships”:

sugar baby 2

And since it’s Google, the video is monetized with pre-roll from major brands advertising, this time by Outback Steak House:

sugar baby 1

If you click on some of the sugar daddy videos, I think you will agree that many come very close to openly recruiting young girls–and I haven’t found any that aren’t directed at women–into “sugar daddy” relationships under the guise of “dating advice”.

One recurring theme in these sugar daddy videos is sex for tuition as a way to avoid taking on student debt.  Young undergrad working a minimum wage job taking on hundreds of thousands in debt can magically make her financial problems all go away if she finds a sugar daddy.

YouTube also has clips from news programming that is not solely devoted to the “how to”.  This local news clip focuses on the “sex for tuition” theme:

Given that YouTube holds itself up as the replacement for television, you have to ask yourself how you would feel if you found your daughter, sister, niece or cousin watching the “Sugar Daddy Channel”.

And this is just one way that YouTube’s lack of editorial control feeds into the worst in society.  And it’s being pumped into your home right now through Google’s various products, including their educational apps, mobile apps and Internet enabled televisions.