27 October 2020
A brief Europol report looks at the changing landscape of human trafficking in light of new technologies, and sets out some of the new law enforcement activities and powers it perceives as required to deal with the issue.
"Investment in equipment and training (including in terms of data privacy, ethics and informed consent) is key for the development of investigative tools. Furthermore, there is a need to amend the existing legislative and policy framework to promote information exchange and cooperation between law enforcement and the private sector (internet service providers and social media companies). In particular, policies are needed to raise awareness among online service providers and coerce them into implementing measures to ensure their platforms are not being abused.
There is also a clear need to develop international investigations as the perpetrators, victims and online platforms involved in the same THB case are often based in different countries. This geographical displacement generates additional challenges with regard to jurisdiction, evidence collection, extradition, and mutual legal assistance. Similarly, training needs for investigators should be addressed at international level, in order to ensure standardised approaches and transnational interoperability.
Finally, as the development of digital communication technologies continues, this area will continue to be important for the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking. The next few years will be critical in terms of identifying and agreeing on the legal and technical frameworks that can be implemented to act effectively against trafficking in human beings in the digital age."
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