Last Thursday The Guardian reported on a United Nations publication, released in September, that described four U.N. staff fired for trading in images and/or videos of child sex abuse on their work computers. Journalists from Agence France-Presse to Al Arabiya followed this story and referenced that U.N. work computers were involved. The trade in child rape, aka child pornography, in the workplace is an all too common problem that few employers, the U.N. included, are handling properly.
Bloomberg recently profiled a Swedish software, NetClean, that scans workplace computers and reports child porn use to law enforcement. NetClean’s experts estimate one in every 1,000 people trade in child sex abuse images/videos at work. My research suggests this may be a conservative estimate. From pediatric oncologists, police chiefs, senior military staff, daycare and preschool teachers to professors, my research shows that those arrested for child porn in America almost always commit the crime at work.
In August and September, an average of two professors per week in America were arrested, arraigned or sentenced for child porn crimes almost all committed on university and college computers. One example: University of Minnesota professor Christopher DeZutter told law enforcement officers who arrived at his home to arrest him for child pornography, “You are not going find a lot of this at home. I do most of this at the office.” Investigators said his university laptop was “full” of child sex abuse files. This included, as is common, the rape of infants.
Another example is Dr. David O’Brien, America’s chief scientist responsible for monitoring global nuclear activity at Patrick Air Force Base’s Technical Applications Center, which operates America’s Atomic Energy Detection System. O’Brien was arrested for child porn use that included the rape of a 3-year-old girl. He committed these crimes on his U.S. Air Force computer.
Then there is Christopher Pelloski, director of the pediatric radiation oncology program at Ohio State University, who was arrested on child pornography charges that included children under the age of 10 being raped, and a 7-year-old girl performing oral sex on a man. Pelloski said he had been trading in child rape for six years. He used his work computer to commit these crimes.
These are only a few examples from over 500 child porn arrests I have researched.
No child pornography should ever be traded on university or college computers or at any school, government agency, daycare facility, police department, doctor’s office or U.N. agency. Every employer should take pro-active measures to prevent this crime. Yet, very few employers are doing so.
NetClean says that investigators report the majority of child porn cases involve work place computers and networks. My research at Data4Justice and Medium confirms this. The trade in child rape and torture, aka child pornography, has become a global epidemic. Too many employers are turning a blind eye to these crimes against children committed in the workplace.
The U.N. has an opportunity to take a global leadership role on the issue of employees using work computers and networks to participate in crimes against children. The only appropriate response from the U.N. is to require each one of its offices and agencies to immediately purchase and install software like NetClean, and to encourage member-nations, and every employer around the world, to do the same.
The demand for child pornography creates the supply of rape, tortured and trafficked children. No employer should allow their workplace to be part of these horrific crimes being committed against children—least of all the United Nations.
Will the U.N. do the right thing?
Photo via Shutterstock
Dr. Lori Handrahan has worked for the United Nations, on and off, for the past 20 years. Her forthcoming book, Child Porn Nation: America’s Hidden National Security Risk, details America’s child sex-abuse epidemic. Her Ph.D. is from The London School of Economics. She can be reached on Twitter @LoriHandrahan2