AI Exploitation in A New Frontier in Child Criminality


  • Criminal gangs are using AI-powered bots to target and exploit vulnerable children for drug dealing and other criminal activities.
  • These criminals are continuously innovating to evade detection by law enforcement, making it harder to protect the exploited children.
  • There’s a critical call for action to establish a unified approach and national definition for child criminal exploitation to better address and prevent these crimes.

Child criminality sounds like a very worrying development; experts have raised the alarm about criminal gangs using artificial intelligence (AI) to exploit children, especially the vulnerable ones, into drug dealing and other crimes. Read, an expert on child exploitation with The Children’s Society, says criminals are becoming more sophisticated now and sometimes even move faster than law agencies do to outsmart minors.

The digital lure

 AI Bots and Quick Cash Offers According to Simmonds-Read, companies deploy AI-powered bots across different platforms to reach young kids where they engage with the kids and continue offering them opportunities that are too good to be true for making quick cash.

The net effect, therefore, is that they are not just targeting minors directly with this approach but taking advantage of their growing presence within digital spaces, where the line between virtual and real-world transactions is fast wearing thin. 

The gamified tactics and the use of microtransactions in video games, which are similar to the tactics of the gambling industry, highlight the complexity presented by such exploitation schemes.

Always Evading Detection Criminals are not just innovating in their approach to recruitment but also their operational strategies.

The notion of “County Lines,” in fact, reflects drug distribution, exploiting the vulnerable as mules to cross and sell the drugs over regional borders. This, however, has created a window for the criminals who adapt their operations not to get detected, e.g., reducing the distances the drugs or weapons were moved, often exploiting children for the roles. More so, the change in the web language allows these gangs to not even be detected by police surveillance gadgets, portraying their high skills in eluding. 

The cost of living crisis and financial exploitation

Simmonds-Read also sheds light on the exacerbating effect of the cost of living crisis on child exploitation. Offers of easy money with that background have become more enticing, and some of the kids actually get caught up in money laundering activities without knowing it. In these schemes, the trafficked are not only exposed to criminal prosecution but also to long-term financial consequences of not being able to take mortgages or be able to open up bank accounts in the future. 

The charity encourages a change in perception, calling for the children to be regarded as victims of child financial exploitation and not as perpetrators. 

A call for action and recognition

Amid these alarming trends, there’s a pressing need for a cohesive and informed response. The charity purports to illustrate the importance of recognizing the contrast in the exploitation of various groups of children, including girls and disabled children. A recent report, which criticized how the Metropolitan Police dealt with child exploitation cases, makes the call for the statutory national definition of child criminal exploitation still more urgent. Such a definition could pave the way for a unified approach to addressing this multifaceted issue.

The use of AI by criminal gangs to exploit children marks a chilling evolution in the landscape of child criminality. Further, the offenders are perfecting their skills using digital media and reaching into wider areas, so it complicates even further the work of law enforcement and support agencies. What these experts like Simmonds-Read are saying not only underscores the urgency with which this menace needs to be addressed but should trigger a paradigmatic shift in how we view our society’s child exploitation. As technology grows, so should those strategies to guard the most vulnerable in our communities.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Glory Kaburu

Glory is an extremely knowledgeable journalist proficient with AI tools and research. She is passionate about AI and has authored several articles on the subject. She keeps herself abreast of the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning and writes about them regularly.

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