Saturday, February 19, 2011

Human Trafficking - a story that's easy to ignore

Human Trafficking is happening all across the world of Facebook. Through pedophiles using the social networking site to trade explicit images of children – some only newborns – to online prostitution sites openly enticing men to ‘like’ their pages and use their ‘services,’ Facebook is the new home of human trafficking.

“Technology has played a fundamental role in this change,” writes Sudhir Venkatesh, a sociology professor at Columbia University, in a recent edition of Wired Magazine. “No self-respecting cosmopolitan man looking for an evening of companionship is going to lean out his car window and call out to a woman at a traffic light.”

Between 2008 and 2010, a growing tide of legal and public protest rose against Craigslist and their “Erotic” and “Adult” services section. These were blatant advertisements for prostitution and human trafficking. Craigslist pulled the ads in the United States in September of 2010 and then worldwide last December.

The changes Craigslist made didn’t change a thing.

“Even before the crackdown on the site’s adult-services section,” says Venkatesh,“sex workers were turning to Facebook.” He further estimates “that by the end of 2011, Facebook will be the leading on-line recruitment space.”

Today, thousands of false Facebook profiles are established every week which are merely links to outside websites featuring women and men for sale. Notorious sites such as “Adult FriendFinder.com” and “Passion.com” have facebook profiles and “groups” with titles like “Young Girl Sex” and “Children Naked” with direct links to their homepages.

Today, February 17, 2011, President Obama is scheduled to meet with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Since the story of human trafficking on Facebook has been ignored by the media and barely touched by law enforcement, it is doubtful the subject will come up. Unfortunately, this oversight leaves thousands of victims at risk.

The only way to motivate Facebook to dedicate the necessary resources for keeping these abusive profiles off their site is to bring this story out in the open. If you do nothing else, please subsribe to my series of Facebook articles on Examiner.com.

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