Human trafficking is a global industry that affects millions of people every year. It’s easy to think of slavery as a thing of the past. Unfortunately, modern forms of slavery exist all around the world, with the internet now playing a central role. Men, women, and children are forced into criminal and sexual exploitation, marriage, and various kinds of labor.
Read on to find out what tricks and tactics human traffickers use to lure people in, and how you can protect yourself and help others.
From obvious ploys to cunning manipulation, the tactics these criminals use come in many forms.
It might be as simple as contacting someone through social media or a dating app and building a relationship. This approach takes more time, but it also helps the attacker gain their victim’s trust. With fake photos, fabricated stories, and a carefully crafted charming personality, these people are easy to fall for. The victim is eager to meet them in real life, but the dinner or drinks in a remote bar could end up being something else entirely.
Online relationships are particularly dangerous to children who tend to be more vulnerable. It’s not too difficult to gain their trust with fun stories and big promises. All the criminal had to do is find out what school a child goes to and wait for them there.
Cyberstalking is also popular among human traffickers. People tend to overshare online, giving criminals all the information they need. Location check-ins on Facebook and geotags on Instagram pictures can reveal where a person is at that exact moment. It also helps criminals put together their victim’s daily schedule and work out when and where they’re most likely to be alone.
“All the criminal had to do is find out what school a child goes to and wait for them there”
Some of the tactics used by human traffickers are borrowed from cybercriminals’ toolbox. For example, they can get your number and send out a fake message with a malicious link that reveals your location when you open it. Unfortunately, many people fall for these kinds of scams and tap on the link without a second thought.
These are not small-minded criminals looking to trick you into giving away a few hundred dollars. Human traffickers use sophisticated tactics that are hard to spot and trace back to them.
But there are some red flags you can look out for when a stranger tries to contact you online. Follow these steps to protect yourself and your family.
We support the fight against human trafficking, so we partnered with a couple of non-profit organizations that work hard to pursue and dismantle criminal networks. Both Justice & Care and Deliver Fund participate in the NordVPN Nonprofits program, and we encourage our users to get involved and join the fight.
To find out more about modern slavery and human trafficking, and how you can help put a stop to it, visit their websites. From donating money to volunteering and organizing fundraisers, there’s a lot you can do to support the cause.
For more privacy and cybersecurity tips, subscribe to our newsletter below.