United States: Investigators Use Social Media to Prosecute Human Traffickers

A Connecticut man was recently sentenced to more than seventeen years in prison for the sex trafficking of minors, after prosecutors successfully leveraged the trafficker’s social media posts, as well as phone records and text messages, to secure his conviction. According to law enforcement, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Kik, and Yik Yak have enabled traffickers to significantly expand their business. For example, traffickers can recruit victims through Facebook and solicit sex buyers on backpage.com. However, law enforcement is increasingly relying on evidence gathered from the same social media sites to prosecute and convict sex traffickers. Deidre Daly, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut stated, “As with many crimes, the internet has made sex trafficking easier to commit and easier to investigate.”

Compiled from: Bisaro, Anna, Sex trafficking moves to social media to find victims and perpetrators, Connecticut authorities say, New Haven Register (June 19, 2016).