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In order to better understand patterns related to human trafficking online, this section offers a review of a set of U. The following is only a sampling of U. S laws relevant to this complex issue. At the federal level, numerous domestic laws might be applied to human trafficking cases. Sex trafficking was criminalized by 18 U. Sex traffickers also may face charges under other federal statutes applicable to sex trafficking, such as 18 U.

On the labor trafficking side, 18 U. Federal laws addressing human trafficking apply across the country; state laws addressing trafficking also exist, but vary in terms of definitions, penalties, and enforcement priorities. While most states have recognized and criminalized sex trafficking, 1 many have only recently done so, and with ificant variations in penalties imposed on perpetrators. For example, under federal law, a year-old engaged in commercial sex acts is a trafficking victim, regardless of whether the minor appears to have participated willingly in said acts, because the law ps that an underage victim cannot provide legal consent.

However, the protections available to trafficking victims vary between states, and minor victims of sex trafficking can face prostitution charges in some state courts.

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Several states would subsequently pass similar legislation. Fiscal year saw the greatest of U. A scan of recent legal cases involving human trafficking and online technologies provides insights regarding details about the uses of technology by traffickers.

Department of Justice, and U. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. The search did not produce any cases involving labor trafficking and online technologies; all of the reviewed were related to sex trafficking.

The following is based on a self-selected sample of 27 federal trafficking cases since involving the use of social networking sites or online classified advertisements to facilitate trafficking. The cases collected do not indicate the totality of trafficking cases involving social networking sites and online classifieds but rather serve to demonstrate some of the ways in which technology is used to facilitate trafficking and the patterns that begin to emerge across cases. In the course of this study, researchers did not discover evidence of traffickers utilizing the Internet to facilitate labor trafficking, perhaps due to the circumstances typically surrounding this form of trafficking.

Research suggests that victims often are recruited from impoverished regions and typically learn about opportunities via word of mouth.

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Once recruited, workers may be isolated, without access to technology. Employment discrimination laws have become instrumental in the fight against labor trafficking.

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Additionally, some workers were confined to cramped apartments without any electricity, water, or gas. What we have seen are temporary contracting agencies bringing in workers through legitimate means under the auspices of luring people with the promise of work so that they can lead a better life. However, the victims are charged exorbitant fees that the workers can never pay because, oftentimes, they are never paid for their work.

This fee is used to subjugate and exploit the workers, forcing them to tolerate and endure intolerable situations. According to Park, most of the targeted communities are agrarian, and people typically learn about job opportunities from neighbors and members of their communities.

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Newspapers in languages targeting a monolithic group e. In the event that these community newspapers move online, there may be an opportunity to evaluate how online classifieds may be used for labor trafficking. The U. The lack of examples of online communication with respect to labor trafficking might also stem from the nature of the messages communicated by traffickers—namely employment opportunities and promises of fair wages. Unlike sex traffickers, who advertise using language that als the nature of the available services e. The challenge is to decipher which job advertisements will result in labor trafficking once the laborer responds to the advertisement and arrives for work.

Unless the recruiters, employers, or other details of their advertisements have already been identified for trafficking abuses, it is immensely difficult to de studies wherein observing online communications alone will reveal disingenuous intentions.

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The unique features of the labor trafficking system make it particularly challenging to track through Internet tools and technologies at this time. Although easier to track than labor trafficking, determining instances of sex trafficking online poses its own complications. In particular, distinctions between advertisements of trafficking victims as opposed to sex workers who do not fall within the legal definitions of trafficking can be limited and blurred.

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Focusing on some of the most vulnerable victims of trafficking, this report directs its research and technological solutions toward detecting minors advertised for commercial sexual services. Under the TVPA, all minors engaged in commercial sex acts are treated as victims of trafficking.

Focusing on the set of cases in which the Internet is used by sex traffickers, certain patterns begin to emerge: 1 Online classified sites are used to post advertisements of victims, 2 social networking sites are used in the recruitment of victims, 3 investigations may begin with a picture of what appears to be an underage girl in an online classified ad, and 4 a of victims have been identified as runaways.

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The Internet was used to advertise the sexual services of victims in all of the cases reviewed. For example, Byron Thompson, who pled guilty to sex trafficking in Maryland in Julycreated Craigslist and Back postings advertising the sexual services of his victims, who were featured in photographs in the. Wilson posted on Back, offering commercial sex services by his minor victim, who was featured in the. Using the GPS, investigators were able to establish locations of several customers in the Jacksonville area.

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Daniel Marino, et al. The business was advertised on Craigslist and other websites. You would have to weed through, in theory, a hundred before you get the one. Without some technological solutions to narrow the pool of potential advertisements, the task of manually reviewing these exceeds the limits of what investigators can reasonably expect to achieve. Beyond advertising sexual services, traffickers also use Craigslist sex bust West Virginia Internet to interact with potential victims. In four of the cases reviewed, traffickers used social media as a recruiting tool.

In JuneDwayne Lawson was sentenced to months in federal prison after pleading guilty to sex trafficking of children. The investigation began when Los Angeles police arrested a teenage girl for prostitution. A common starting point for investigators is the appearance of the victim in photos used by sex traffickers to advertise. According to public records, the U. Agents may then undertake investigations based on a picture that appears to feature an underage girl. In AugustLawrence Pruitt and Marvin Harris were sentenced to 10 years and four years, respectively, in federal prison for sex trafficking of a minor.

The FBI believed that the victim, whose advertisement listed her age as 19, was a juvenile. The investigation of Thelonious Reed, sentenced in June on charges related to sex trafficking, began when an agent discovered an ad for a young woman in the Erotic Services section of Craigslist. The ad, in which a young woman appeared topless, described the woman as 19 years old.

Believing her to be younger, the agent set up a meeting posing as a client. Upon arrival, the year-old victim revealed that she was trafficked for sex by Reed, who lured her by describing himself as a modeling agent. In several of the cases reviewed, investigators discovered the victims were runaways.

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The investigation began when the police department contacted a young runaway about a reported assault and discovered that the year-old girl was being trafficked, along with several other young women. The girl, who had recently left Hampton, explained that he made the girls advertise their sexual services on Craigslist. All of the victims turned out to be runaways, and Hampton provided them with housing, food, and drugs.

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In OctoberSterling Terrance Hospedales, a former Army sergeant, was sentenced to 11 years for sex trafficking and attempted sex trafficking of. The investigation began in Lakewood, Washington, when local police received reports of a young runaway posting selling sexual services on Craigslist.

Investigators located and interviewed the juvenile, who led them to Hospedales. Investigators also discovered another juvenile victimized by Hospedales. The second juvenile had met him on Myspace. Hospedales paid for her plane ticket and, within a week, posted photos of her on Craigslist advertising sexual services. The Human Trafficking Rescue Project conducted a sting operation in March targeting individuals attempting to engage in sex with prostituted children.

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Oflyng pled guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for attempted sex trafficking. In fact, their use of the Internet gives us new tools in our efforts to investigate this insidious behavior. Timothy Myers. The defendants, who were charged with trafficking two girls under the age of 18 for sex, placed advertisements featuring their victims on Craigslist and Back.

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The court concluded that the interstate commerce element of the statute was satisfied, by virtue of the movement of monies through s and information through servers in various states. Myers could allow a greater of prosecutors to bring sex trafficking cases involving online activity in federal courts, allowing victims to benefit from the protections offered under the TVPA. By December, the company closed the Adult Services sections of the website worldwide.

SinceCraigslist has been criticized for its role in facilitating prostitution and sexual exploitation via its Adult Services formerly Erotic Services sections. But a of politicians, advocates, and law-enforcement officials were not persuaded.

The report was cited in congressional hearings, despite the fact that aspects of the methodology were not rigorous. On September 15,the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security conducted a hearing on domestic minor sex trafficking and specifically H. Moreover, we have been advised by NCMEC that we are the only such participant making direct reports among countless other venues that carry adult service. We have assisted sweeps, anti trafficking sweeps by the FBI and have been credited by agents with helping make those sweeps successful. These include creation of multiple special search interfaces that facilitate the search for missing children across all Craigslist sites.

In his testimony, Powell announced that Craigslist had permanently closed its Adult Services section in the United States, with no plans to reopen the section.

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The Craigslist case is striking because of 1 the lack of credible empirical research and aggregate data on trafficking and online technologies informing the debate, 2 the lack of more cooperative cross-sector partnerships and coordination, and 3 a missed opportunity to explore more creative solutions to the problem of trafficking online. Menu Toggle extended. Technology and Human Trafficking. Relevant Trafficking Laws At the federal level, numerous domestic laws might be applied to human trafficking cases. Labor Trafficking and Technology In the course of this study, researchers did not discover evidence of traffickers utilizing the Internet to facilitate labor trafficking, perhaps due to the circumstances typically surrounding this form of trafficking.

Sex Trafficking and Technology Although easier to track than labor trafficking, determining instances of sex trafficking online poses its own complications. Notes At the end of the reporting period, only three states had yet to enact anti-trafficking laws: West Virginia, Wyoming, and Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts, anti-trafficking legislation had passed but had yet to be ed into law. One such example is the case of year-old B. ACT ZIP:

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