WorldEuropean operation against online human trafficking

European operation against online human trafficking

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It’s a dragnet to protect Ukrainians fleeing the invasion of their country. The European Police Office announced on Thursday that a European operation has identified suspected human traffickers entrapping Ukrainian victims online.

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Nine suspected human traffickers, nine potential victims and nearly 42 suspicious platforms were identified during a “hackathon” on May 23, Europol said in a statement. During the online day of action, 93 investigators targeted “criminal networks grooming Ukrainian refugees for sexual and labor exploitation through websites and social media platforms,” Europol said.

Ukrainian women targeted

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Officers focused on tracking publications offering assistance to refugees with transportation, accommodation and work. Dating sites and recruitment sites were monitored, as well as platforms offering sexual services. Many platforms appear to be taking significant steps to combat the misuse of their platforms for smuggling Ukrainian refugees, Europol noted.

“However, law enforcement found a significant number of suspicious job postings targeting Ukrainian women, some of which were described as ‘photo shoots’,” the agency also warned.

From “bright future” offers to “sexual exploitation”

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“Investigators identified attempts to lure victims with offers of a ‘bright future’, which led them to sexual exploitation”, explained Europol, adding that “suspicious activities were detected on a wide range platforms, including in the Russian language,” he added.

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Judicial authorities from 14 countries of the European Union participated in this day of online action, led by the Netherlands. 15 new investigations were opened. Europol warned in March against the risk for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the invasion of their country of falling into human trafficking networks when arriving in the EU, urging host countries to remain attentive.

Source: 20minutes

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