Traffickers are moving online in search of victims

Source– The post is based on the article “Traffickers are moving online in search of victims” published in The Hindu on 5th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Challenges to internal security,. GS2- Vulnerable sections

Relevance– Issue of trafficking

News– The article explains the issue of use of online mediums for trafficking of children and women.

What are the new mechanisms used by traffickers?

Due to Covid-19 restrictions over the past two years, traffickers are using online classrooms, gaming platforms, matrimonial sites, dating apps and even loan apps for potential victims.

According to the US based National Center for Missing and Exploited children’s Cyber tipline report for 2021, India reports 4.69 million reports of online abuse of children. It is the highest of any country.

A study shows that 44% of respondents started using internet after outbreak of Covid-19

How children and women are abused through online mediums?

The study conducted by Space2Glow and Cyber Peace Foundation shows that among those who felt uncomfortable during online interactions, 8% relented to sender requests after repeatedly saying no to them. These are at serious risk of abuse.

The modus operandi of operators ranging from luring somebody through relationships, blackmailing them by morphing their social media photographs and offering loans which are difficult to pay back in cash.

Child grooming which encompasses access and isolation, trust building, desensitization, and forcing them into trafficking are tactics used by abusers.

What is the way forward to stop trafficking?

There is a need for better awareness among women and children.

Better training of law enforcement agencies and technology platforms are required.

There is a need for capability building of law enforcement officials.

Legal deterrence through enhanced detection mechanisms for online and human interface is required.

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