Social media has become a part of our everyday lives and has changed the way we communicate with friends and family. While many of these platforms have created more ways to keep in touch, meet new friends, and even start relationships, there is also a dark side. Social media has become a platform for human traffickers to recruit potential victims through insincere romantic relationships. Traffickers pose online as a potential significant other to recruit victims into commercial sex. They manipulate their victims into thinking that they are looking for a genuine relationship and then ultimately use force, fraud or coercion, to profit off of the victim.
From January 2015 through July 2018, the National Human Trafficking Hotline documented 969 potential victims of sex trafficking recruited on internet platforms. A study by Thorn, a nonprofit dedicated to ending child sex trafficking, found that 55% of domestic minor sex trafficking survivors who entered the life in 2015 or later, reported meeting their trafficker for the first time using text, a website, or a mobile app.
As the use of technology continues to increase, so will trafficking through internet platforms if we do not stop traffickers in their tracks. Take the pledge now to commit to actively fighting human trafficking. The first step to prevention is awareness of the problem. The first step begins with you.