Most online recruitment in sex trafficking cases occurs on Facebook: analysis

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The majority of online recruitment in sex trafficking cases last year took place on Facebook, according to a new report.

The Human Trafficking Institute on Tuesday said in its annual report that 59 percent of online recruitment of victims occurred on Facebook, along with 65 percent of child victims.

“The internet has become the dominant tool that traffickers use to recruit victims, and they often recruit them on a number of very common social networking websites,” Victor Boutros, CEO of the Human Trafficking Institute, told CBS News on Wednesday.

“Facebook overwhelmingly is used by traffickers to recruit victims in active sex trafficking cases,” he added.

In response to a request for comment, a Facebook spokesperson told The Hill: “Sex trafficking and child exploitation are abhorrent and we don’t allow them on Facebook. We have policies and technology to prevent these types of abuses and take down any content that violates our rules.”

“We also work with safety groups, anti-trafficking organizations and other technology companies to address this and we report all apparent instances of child sexual exploitation to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” the spokesperson added.

Most of the traffickers used fraudulent job offers or feigned romance to target their victims, the report said. Traffickers often made promises to victims that included providing housing, material possessions, transportation or drugs.

The report went on to say that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, and Snapchat were other commonly used platforms to target children, while traffickers typically opted for WeChat when recruiting adult victims.

Updated at 2:21 p.m.

Tags Facebook Instagram sex trafficking Snapchat Social media WeChat

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