Human trafficking generates $150 billion in profit every year. The Internet provides traffickers with an environment in which they can operate with increased safety and anonymity and advertise their victims to a broad audience on thousands of platforms at minimal cost. Consequently, technology has become one of the single greatest facilitators of human trafficking globally, particularly for sexual exploitation. One of the primary objectives of the roundtable discussion was to discuss websites that provide avenues for traffickers to increase exploitation of vulnerable victims.
The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Valiant Richey concluded an International “e-Roundtable Discussion on Combating Technology-facilitated Trafficking in Human Beings in Central Asia and across the OSCE Asian Partners for Co-operation.”
The two-day virtual gathering hosted more than 160 participants on behalf of governments, international organizations, academia and NGOs. Participants outlined the increasing role that the misuse of technology plays in facilitating human trafficking, with a specific focus on those regions.
“I encourage all OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation to update their laws and policies to address tech-facilitated human trafficking. While we see common problems, we also see common solutions,” said Richey. “Co-operation is of great importance, and I commend the existing approach to partnerships, which has demonstrated its effectiveness in numerous operations.”
Concrete examples of practices and policies adopted by countries and stakeholders addressing technology-facilitated human trafficking were showcased.
Richey stressed the need to involve the private sector in the conversation at the national level but emphasized that the problem requires urgent attention. “Those who turn a blind eye to exploitation must be held accountable for their role in allowing or facilitating trafficking. I encourage countries to work collaboratively with the private sector while ensuring that substantive action is taken.”
The OSCE enjoys a long-standing relationship with the Asian Partners for Co-operation. Over the past decades, the Asian Partners for Co-operation have contributed substantially to the OSCE’s dialogue on various aspects of comprehensive security while providing ideas for future and closer co-operation.