The majority of online recruitment in active sex trafficking cases in the U.S. last year took place on Facebook, according to the Human Trafficking Institute’s 2020 Federal Human Trafficking Report.
“The internet has become the dominant tool that traffickers use to recruit victims, and they often recruit them on a number of very common social networking websites,” Human Trafficking Institute CEO Victor Boutros said on CBSN Wednesday. “Facebook overwhelmingly is used by traffickers to recruit victims in active sex trafficking cases.”
Data from the last two decades included in the human trafficking report showed that 30% of all victims identified in federal sex trafficking cases since 2000 were recruited online.
In 2020 in the U.S., 59% of online recruitment of identified victims in active cases took place on Facebook alone. The report also states that 65% of identified child sex trafficking victims recruited on social media were recruited through Facebook.
Instagram and Snapchat were the most frequently cited platforms after Facebook for recruiting child victims in 2020. For adult victims, the next-most cited were WeChat and Instagram.
“These data do not reflect the prevalence of online solicitation in sex trafficking schemes beyond those federally prosecuted. To be sure, the internet is implicated in many sex trafficking situations, but the high numbers of federal prosecutions involving internet solicitation are equally if not more reflective of the strategies law enforcement use to investigate these crimes,” the report states.
The majority of victims in active sex trafficking cases in 2020 were targeted with a fraudulent job offer, the report notes, followed by feigned romance. The data is based on the 602 victims identified in active sex trafficking cases for whom details of their recruitment were known.
Full story at cbsnews.com.