New report on online and technology-facilitated trafficking in human beings – Council of Europe

Today, a new report is being released by the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) on online and technology-facilitated trafficking in human beings.

The report, produced by Dr Paolo Campana, analyses information collected through questionnaires sent to the 48 state parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, civil society organisations and tech companies. At the core of this study is an exploration of the operational and legal challenges that state parties – and to some extent NGOs – face in detecting, investigating and prosecuting online and ICT-facilitated human trafficking, as well as identifying victims and raising awareness. The challenges posed by technology on the investigation of human trafficking cases include, in the first place, data encryption, followed by the large volume of data, the speed of technological change, the lack of technical equipment and inadequate legislative tools. Challenges to the prosecution include obtaining evidence from other countries, lack of training among prosecutors, and inadequate legislative tools and assistance from the private sector.

The study explores the strategies, tools and good practices to overcome existing challenges and enhance responses to online and ICT-facilitated human trafficking. The report offers evidence-based recommendations on how to enhance the detection, investigation and prosecution of technology-facilitated trafficking, enhance co-operation with private companies, and strengthen international co-operation. Particular emphasis is placed on training, as investments in human capital are as important as those in technical tools

This study has been conducted as part of a long-standing interest of the Council of Europe in the issue of technology and human trafficking. Back in 2007, the Council of Europe commissioned a study on the misuse of the Internet for the recruitment of victims. Since then, the rapidly increasing availability of technology and generalised access to the Internet have significantly changed the criminal landscape. At the same time, digital technologies and Artificial Intelligence create new opportunities, serving as a tool to prevent and investigate crimes, and to identify and assist victims.

To present the report, a launching event is organised by the Council of Europe’s Anti-Trafficking Division on Friday, 18 March 2022 (online).

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