Washington, D.C. 2013

Exploring the dangers of a virtual shadow economy and the impact on child sexual exploitation

On 13 June 2013 we partnered with Thomson Reuters to co-host The Virtual Economy: Potential, Perplexities and Promise, a conference exploring the benefits and risks of the emerging digital economy.

“A new generation of hidden marketplaces, anonymizing tools and encrypted currencies have revolutionized the online environment and severely blurred the distinction between legality and illegality.”Steve Rubley, President & CEO, Thomson Reuters Special Services, LLC

Representatives of web services, privacy groups, government officials, law enforcement, financial industry leaders, and others gathered together to address both the economic opportunities arising from the digital economy and the illicit activities that have arisen from it.

Of particular concern was the growing use of hidden marketplaces, alternative payments systems and digital currencies for the production and sale of commercial child pornography, human trafficking and child exploitation.

Participants discussed a range of related matters including striking a balance between anonymity and privacy, the exploitation of children using digital technologies, the incidence and prevalence of exploitation, and the modes of abuse.