Pedophiles using app to manipulate underage girls into sexual acts, sell recordings as child porn

- WARNING DISTURBING CONTENT:

A FOX 11 investigation has found that pedophiles are using the popular live streaming app Live.Me to manipulate underage girls into performing sexual acts, reward them with virtual currency, and then post screen captures or recordings of the girls online to be sold and distributed as child porn.

Live.Me is a popular live streaming Chinese app that has been downloaded 96 million times. The app shares the users location, and allows users to search for who is streaming near them.

Live.Me’s website says the app is explicitly meant to be used by people over the age of thirteen, but FOX 11 found girls as young as seven or eight years old using the app.

FOX 11 monitored dozens of Live.Me streams, not staying long enough to see things get explicit, but what we found was horrifying.

Time and time again, the streams featured girls who appeared to be extremely underage, with pedophiles openly trying to manipulate the girls into performing sexual acts for them.

FOX 11 immediately brought the concerns to several experts, and showed them several of the live streams.

One of them was Erin Runnion. Her 5-year-old daughter Samantha was abducted and murdered in 2002, and she started the Joyful Child Foundation in Samantha’s memory.

“She went from danging to spreading her legs and putting her shirt up, she’s still in a bralette for heaven’s sake,” Runnion said as she viewed one of the disturbing live streams. “I don’t want any parent to have to suffer like I did, and I certainly don’t want any child to put themselves in a dangerous situation.”

FOX 11 also spoke with Dr. Lisa Strohman, a former FBI agent and current clinical psychologist. She’s now the director of the Digital Citizen Academy and Technology Wellness Center.

“I did homicidal pedophilia at the bureau, so I’ve seen a lot of really terrible things, but this terrifies me,” Dr. Strohman said. “For me, it’s like a prostitution platform, or turning into one.”

FOX 11 showed both women several concerning live streams featuring underage girls, and both of them were mortified by what they saw.

In one stream, an elementary school aged girl was streaming herself singing. One viewer warns her to be careful for pedophiles, and within seconds, they arrive.

Commenters begin instructing the girl to “pull her shirt up”, “pull her pants down”, and tell her she is “so hot.”

“She looks like she might be 7 or 8 years old, maybe,” Dr. Strohman said.

Several of the live streams showed underage girls dancing sexually while their male viewers egged them on and showered them with virtual currency.

“Thank you guys so much for all of these gifts!,”one of the girls says.
“It’s very clear these girls are creating sexualized dances in order to elicit a response,” Dr. Strohman said. “They wanna get prices from people that they can turn into money.”

“It’s just part of the brain’s development that we need affirmation in those teen years and predators prey on that like there’s no tomorrow,” Runnion said.

Some girls went as far as removing their clothing at the request of their viewers.

“It’s heartbreaking really because what we’re seeing essentially is pornography, but really at its core it’s self exploitation,” Runnion said.

In one disturbing case, a young girl is live streaming while a guardian is driving her to school. Her viewers begin making extremely crude comments, telling her they would perform oral sex on her, fantasizing about her lips, and asking her to direct message them.”

She then gets out of the car and brings the live stream into school with her, unknowingly exposing the rest of her peers the rest of her peers to dangerous pedophiles, who instruct her to “show them around the room.”

One stream features a young girl with a pacifier in her mouth. She has more than four thousand viewers.
One commenter writes that he wants to “see her in a choker and heels”, and another writes that he is sexually aroused by the idea that she is too young to talk.

“These kids are putting themselves out there for the attention having no concept of the kinds of things their viewers would want to do to them,” Runnion said.

FOX 11 wanted to get LiveMe’s response to the disturbing things we were witnessing on their app.
Their corporate office is located in China, but they do have an office in West Hollywood.

A representative told FOX 11 he couldn’t go on camera, but he did provide a statement:
“As unfortunate and disturbing as some of these reports are, these are issues not unique to LiveMe, but reflect the challenges all social media platforms are confronting each day. We strive to provide a safe and enjoyable platform for our users, relying heavily on artificial intelligence and the 100 moderators we employ across the globe who are on call 24 hours a day. We will continue to focus on our mission to build the best live broadcasting platform, while working closely with law enforcement and the various agencies they support to protect our community,” the official wrote.

But believe it or not, things get even more disturbing.

Computer forensics expert Chris Pavan tells FOX 11 some pedophiles are recording the live streams to sell as child porn.

“The screen captures are being recorded to their computers,” Pavan said. “They’ll edit it down, they’ll generate something that is viewable by pretty much anybody’s computer and then they upload it to a file sharing site where an individual who wants to consume it can download it and has to pay some money for that file.”

Sadly, it’s true. FOX 11 found multiple porn sites directing customers straight to live streams or webcam captures of underage girls on LiveMe and other similar apps.

The links advertise that the girls are “young jailbait” and that they were secretly recorded without their knowledge.

“It’s being distributed to hundreds, thousands of pedophiles out there who are paying for and downloading this material,” Pavan said.

“That could take a young, innocent 11-year-old from her dream of maybe growing up and being a doctor and now growing up and saying how much money can I make online in my bedroom dancing in sexualized positions for different people,” Dr. Strohman said.

And that’s why Runnion says it’s time for parents to wake up and get involved.

“We cannot afford to be disengaged,” she said. “We used to sit around the table after dinner and play board games. Well, now children would rather be on their phone and if you’re not online with your children you’re missing out on what they think is one of the most important parts of their lives.”

LiveMe went on to tell FOX 11 that the overwhelming majority of their users do nothing inappropriate, and they will continue to weed out anybody who is using the platform maliciously by working with law enforcement.

The company says they also plan to deploy improved facial recognition software to add an extra layer of security by automatically monitoring and estimating the age of broadcasters and flagging the users who appear underage.

 

 

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