The Internet Crime Complaint Center (FBI) (IC3) today issued a public announcement on the continued use of online platforms such as dating sites and social media to attract victims to deceive them into sex or forced labor.
"The FBI warns the public to remain alert to the threat posed by criminals seeking to coerce people through violence and fraud through popular SOCIAL MEDIA and dating platforms, ”says the PSA.
“Offenders often use their dating apps and websites to recruit and later advertise trafficking victims. In addition, offenders are increasingly attracting victims of sex workers with what appears to be a legitimate job offer. "
According to FBI investigations, victims from different backgrounds are rural areas in big cities they are tricked by human traffickers into forced labor or sex work using online platforms.
In many cases, criminals will be represented by legal recruiters work or job placement agents and will give potential victims the promise of a better life, of course through false employment.
People who share personal information on online platforms are the ones most likely to be targeted by such criminals, especially if they find that you have problems such as' financial difficulties, low self esteem or their family problems».
The traffickers will use their target stories as a basis for well-planned attacks on the Internet, convincing them that they want to be useful or interested in a relationship.
However, their victims will later be forced into sex work or forced labor, as traffickers manage to create a false sense of belonging. confidence and persuade them to meet in person.
Human traffickers using electronic platforms
In recent years, the FBI has discovered multiple cases of trafficking of people using popular social media and dating sites with traffickers fishing.
Among these multiple cases that have been identified over the years, the FBI shares the following three examples:
- In July 2019, a Baltimore man was convicted of two cases of trafficking of a minor and a user who used the Internet to promote a business involved in prostitution. The perpetrator targeted two girls who posted information online about their difficult life and financial situation. After meeting them in person, the man forced the two girls to have sex work.
- In March 2019, a married couple was found guilty of forced labor. The couple employed foreign workers to do housework at their home in Stockton, California. The defendants used the Internet and an Indian newspaper to publish false ads about wages and the nature of work at home. On arrival, employees were forced to work 18 hours almost without pay.
- In October 2017, a so-called 'sex trafficker' was convicted of 17 counts of adult and minor criminals. The categories include child pornography and obstruction of justice. The offender received a 33-year sentence. A victim from the Seattle area met with a sex trafficking partner on a dating site. The dealer and instrumental later promised to help the victim with her career. After a few months, the victim was abused and forced into prostitution.
"Human trafficking occurs in all parts of the country and in many forms, from forced labor to sexual exploitation, including child sexual exploitation," said International Criminal Court Chief Michael Driscoll.
Victims and witnesses are also urged by the FBI to retain as much evidence as possible, including e-mail, text messages or any other message communicating with traffickers to facilitate their detection and prosecution.