War Between Cybersecurity and Human Trafficking: 40 Million Reasons Forbidding a Defeat

War Between Cybersecurity and Human Trafficking
War Between Cybersecurity and Human Trafficking

Are you having a bad day? Or perhaps you feel like your life is not going as you hoped? Well, it might sound like a cliché but be thankful for your freedom. Does that sound ridiculous to be grateful for such a fundamental human right? It probably is. Yet, while you are reading this, approximately over 40 million people live in some form of slavery. This is the darkest known secret of our society. You won't hear about it tonight on the news or see it as a cumbersome headline in today's newspaper. Still, it's there, it's real, and 40 million people (!!!) live a daily life of misery and suffering with no way out and no aid because apparently everything else is more important.

Remember how people worldwide were so furious about the new WhatsApp privacy agreement threatening to abandon the app while calling it "outrageous" and a "shameful" agreement violating our right to privacy? It was broadcasted by the media and news all-around, including CNN, the BBC, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and countless others.

The Covid-19 vaccination practice draws daily attention worldwide, overall media, due it derivates arguments concerning the unethical of it to be a gross violation of people's human rights over their bodies.

Our society is excelling in implementing the "out of sight, out of mind" approach, which makes one group, particularly the "under the radar" warriors, in the confrontation against human trafficking. They are THE Cybersecurity specialists.

Meanwhile, as the world progressed technologically, so does the criminals, and they are acquiring the new online world for their illegal trade. The traffickers learned how to enslave a person online through public forums and online media such as the DarkNet. On Feb 2, 2020, Forbes magazine published, while resting on the ILO (International Labor Organization) information, that the business of human trafficking globally generates an estimated annual profit of around $150 Billion.

This shocking number of profits manifests two horrifying facts; the first one is already acknowledging that 'humans' trade is all around us. The second one, and even more atrocious fact, is that it has a demand!

So, what is human trafficking, and how does this business operate through the online world?

Human trafficking operates for serval "uses", whilst the most common method is the activation of human sexual exploitation. The victims of this vile crime are primarily women and children. They are forced to become sex slaves and be traded for sex against their will. Also, they may use for forced labor, marriage, and even as a source of organs for sale. Amongst the EU, the vast majority of the victims in 2017-2018 were from Romania, Hungary, United Kingdom, Poland, The Netherlands, France, and Bulgaria.

The second "use" is for forced labor, or in other words, slavery which is conducted through migrant smuggling. Citizens from war zones who are willing to do what it takes to escape their country for a better life are unaware of their situation, which is being used. Although they are being assisted to flee their countries, unfortunately, and disastrously freedom is excluded sadly from this package.

Predators, nowadays, hold numerous ways to hunt their victims through social media, especially children. They "approach" their victims through fake profiles and false pretenses to lure them right into their trap, then sell them through different online channels.

In the past, they used a website called Backpage.com. This website was a classified advertising website and was the most significant online marketplace for buying/selling sex. The irony was that the US law protected these kinds of websites through the arguments that the relevant websites could not be held accountable for what others choose to publish there.

On Apr 9, 2018, the US Department of Justice published: "Justice Department Leads Effort to Seize Backpage.Com, the Internet's Leading Forum for Prostitution Ads, and Obtains 93-Count Federal Indictment."

This led to Federal authorities shutting down Backpage, but since then, there was a substantial rise in those kinds of online platforms such as Pernals, Doublelist, Bedpage, and more.

In 2020, due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, the human trafficking business quickly adapted themselves to the new world order. The IOM UN Migration testified that this criminal network is flourishing on people's vulnerability and abusing technological tools to continue their inhumane, illegal industry. Here are some of the developments, published by IOM, that traffickers have experienced during the pandemic: An increase of "special" offers to people in vulnerable conditions, less control of the authorities over the crime organizations, increased online recruitment, and a potential rise in minors' Cyber-sex demand.

The law authorities were forced to realize that the war between them and human traffickers shifted from the streets to a much more elaborate, innovative, and technological territory, The net. This shift occurred not only when dealing with sexual exploitation but also with modern slavery and smuggling migrants.

The smugglers also did no longer communicated directly but rather exposed themselves in the process. They used the Internet or the dark web to promote their services, recruit people to the operation, and even collected data on potential "safe" roads and pathways to execute their plans without getting caught. It became evident for the authorities that in order to confront this organized crime, they will need to defeat them with their own tools on their own turf, with the best weapon out there, Cybersecurity.

The Cyber-world maintains the tools needed to duel back and support law enforcement in the battle against these criminals. They embody the ability to locate victims, monitor illegal activity, collect and analyze data against traffickers and streamline information. They keep advancing their technological strategies with the use of Deep Learning & AI. They target potential "buyers" by gathering and collecting data from the dark websites, mapping their activities, and exposing the net's hidden areas. They create an easy and fast "report" option on any suspicious or inappropriate ads online and make online awareness, especially for children, to recognize an online danger.

This is a continuous Armageddon between the ugliest and most monstrous side of humanity and the ones who are eager to stop it. Unfortunately, they will not accomplish this while the rest of the world keeps silent. Albert Einstein once said, "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." So perhaps it's time to use our rage and voices for those men, women, and children who are fighting for their lives and can't speak up for themselves.

Isn't this our social duty to join forces with Cybersecurity in the most significant battle yet, saving human lives?

You may also like: