Aran's Story

Aran was a good student and friendly with his peers at school. Like most teenagers, Aran spends a lot of time on his phone and chatting with friends on social media. Over the course of a few months, Aran’s parents noticed his attitude changing at home. He became distant and his grades began to suffer. 

Aran was ashamed to tell his parents that someone he met online and trusted had been forcing him to send sexual photos.

A college student pretending to be a girl who was interested in Aran convinced him to have an online relationship with “her.” The abuser then threatened to expose Aran’s photos to friends and family if he did not continue to engage.

Aran felt trapped. But one day, he summoned up the courage to finally tell his parents what was happening.

When Aran courageously told his parents about the abuse, he was severely depressed and had thoughts of suicide. Aran and his parents went to local police, who reached out to Unseen Alumni Partner, LIFT International, for help in identifying Aran's abuser. 

LIFT analysts aided police in arresting Aran’s offender. After extracting terabytes of data from multiple devices, other potential victims who were being abused and exploited by the same man were identified. LIFT social workers reached out to 20 more victims to offer ongoing support and to assure them they could now live in freedom.

There are others like Aran caught in a web of blackmail and shame because of online sexual exploitation. Emerging data indicates this has significantly increased during lockdowns and stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of supporters like you, Unseen partners like LIFT International are able to identify perpetrators and protect and support those who have suffered—ensuring justice is served, and individuals like Aran can live with freedom and dignity.

*Name and photo changed for privacy.