Human trafficking is rapidly growing. According to the F.B.I., sex trafficking is the 2nd fastest growing criminal industry — just behind drug trafficking. There are many avenues that traffickers are targeting their victims, and we will look at some of these avenues, so we can prepare ourselves and our children and shut these avenues down.
Traffickers are using Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Snap Chat, texting, and chat. Sometimes it leads to an off-line meeting and the social networker being trapped by slave traders. There have been cases that a trafficker has already had their victim sold before the abduction based solely on the profile picture.
BOYFRIENDING is another avenue that most times is combined with social media. A trafficker will act like a boyfriend and will attempt to win a girl’s complete trust. The trafficker, or a guy used as a recruiter, then turn the girl over to traffickers. Other times a girl will be used to lure another girl into trusting her, and the victim will become trapped.
A dream job posted on a site is an avenue a trafficker uses. Many victims have applied for a job that seemed too good to be true. The travel opportunity that can’t be refused. Be on alert when it comes to these opportunities and do your research on jobs before unknowingly falling into a trap.
An ad for housing is a ploy to lure a victim in by abducting them as soon as they arrive at the advertised address or the landlord will woo them and provide lavish gifts, and once he has their trust, he will force them into prostitution. Housing ad abduction has happened countless times.
Online dating is an avenue to where individuals converse with a stranger, and if it is going well, they disclose personal information about themselves and possibly their families. Later they will decide to meet and just like that many victims have been abducted. The trafficker threatens their families because they have so much information on them provided by the victim. The victim will then become submissive to the trafficker in hopes of saving their family.
Here are some examples of how victims have been ensnared into human trafficking:
- In Illinois, a 19-year-old female responded to an Internet ad promoting modeling opportunities. Instead of offering her a modeling job, the offender enticed the girl to wait in a hotel room where she was expected to have sex with an unknown person. The offender, who would become her pimp, intended to sell the young woman for sex at an hourly rate. In this case, the pimp’s would-be client was an undercover police officer who brought the young woman to safety.1
- In Denmark, law enforcement authorities noted suspicious advertisements for nannies, waitresses, and dancers on Web sites in Latvia and Lithuania. The traffickers used Internet sites to post advertisements for jobs in Western Europe. An anti-trafficking group in Poland reports that 30 percent of its clients (trafficked women) were recruited through the Internet.2
- Polish and Italian police jointly dismantled a network that trafficked men for forced labor. An employment agency Web site was the primary means of recruitment.3
These are just some examples of how traffickers are using the internet. We need to be on guard against their tactics. As always, if you see something – say something. If you suspect a trafficker is trying to lure you or someone you know is sure to report it immediately.