Traffickers abusing online technology, UN crime prevention agency warns

Asha Bajaj
5 min readOct 30, 2021

#OnlineMarketplace#GlobalLawAndCrimePrevention; #HumanTrafficking; #OnlineTechnology; #FakeWebsites; #DarkWebExploitation; #OnlineMarketplace

New York/Canadian-Media: Human traffickers who trick people with fake job offers and promises and then exploit them for profit, are taking advantage of online technologies for every step of their criminal activities.

Containment measures to control the spread of the virus meant that people spent much more time online, especially children since schools were closed. Image credit: UNODC

Research conducted by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows how victims are being targeted and recruited via social media and online dating platforms, where personal information and details of people’s locations are readily available.

Sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation are taking place virtually and photos and videos are sold further on different platforms to customers worldwide, resulting in even more money for the traffickers at no additional cost.

New strategies

This week, experts from around 100 countries met online and in Vienna, Austria, to discuss strategies to combat this phenomenon and make the best use of technology to prevent human trafficking and investigate cases of this crime.

The discussion formed part of the annual intergovernmental Working Group of Trafficking in Persons and centers around an in-depth background paper on this topic produced by UNODC’s Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section.

“Traffickers are quick to adapt their business model to suit their needs and increase their profits, so of course they follow online trends,” explains Tiphanie Crittin, a UNODC Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer.

Dark web exploitation

“Traffickers are currently using technology to profile, recruit, control and exploit their victims as well as using the Internet, especially the dark web, to hide illegal materials stemming from trafficking and their real identities from investigators.”

The illicit proceeds from this highly profitable crime are also being laundered…

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Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women