Human Trafficking – Can We Stop It?
Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry that claims over 20 million victims. Its victims, who generally have no choice but to consent to the abuse, are predominately women and children. While many of the victims are subject to forced labor, most of them are put to work in the sex industry. In many cases the victims are moved, against their will, from poor countries to affluent countries in North America, Europe, and the Middle East.
More often than not, human trafficking is carried out by transnational organized crime networks. Exploitative situations are hard to discover for two main reasons: Firstly, the victims generally do not report themselves to the authorities. For example, children may not consider that the exploitative act against them is violent or abusive. Secondly, as is to be expected with organized crime, the activities are carried out in a very clandestine and difficult to monitor manner.
In order to collect evidence of the crimes and its agents, local and national police authorities need to carefully track the human trafficking infrastructure across borders. Through expert data mining, analysis of mass volumes of communications, and above all, the ability to zero-in on suspicious interactions and movements, authorities can identify members of the trafficking networks, generate legal evidence, and take action.
The attached Europol Report from 2016, “Trafficking in Human Beings in the EU,” provides a comprehensive review of human trafficking in Europe, including the scale of the crimes, a review of each type of victim, the various criminal networks and their origins, and the current methods being undertaken to mitigate and prevent the crimes.