Human trafficking has been a problem subjecting a lot of innocent people into captivity and slavery. The danger of this act is not only posed by its existence but also, how fast the curve of its related cases is rising.

The Polaris Project on January 31, 2017 released that human trafficking skyrocketed by 35% in 2016.

In the quest to identify the factors that had helped human traffickers to operate, investigators came across the Darknet.

It is an undeniable fact that the Darknet has contributed to something positive, but a study has shown that 57% of its contents are illegal activities including human trafficking.

The anonymity of the Darknet makes it difficult for organizations to effectively find all human traffickers as it is likely that there may be a huge number of them operating secretly.

A specialist on migrant assistance in Central and North America, at the UN migration agency IOM, Rosilyne Borland said: “The issue of the dark web, which for its form and configuration is extremely untraceable, is it makes it very difficult to find the criminals we are looking for.”

There are many forums on the Darknet that discusses human trafficking, however, it is difficult for law enforcement to arrest them. The main reason is that the various websites are not indexed.

In the event which focused on the tourism-related sexual abuse of children, some speakers made known their concerns. The major issue discussed was that authorities could locate and arrest the human traffickers on the street, but not now as most of the traffickers have gone online.

Ana Teresa Leon, the head of Costa Rica’s PANI Child Welfare Agency said: “Practically the whole process happens through digital means, and that makes it extremely difficult for location and identification.”

There are some misgivings on the fact that the Darknet can go to the extent of hosting human trafficking operations, but the investigator’s report proves beyond all reasonable doubt that something of that sort happens on the network.

Recently, a British model was kidnapped and auctioned on the Darknet. An anti-mafia prosecutor who was working on the Milan case, Paolo Storari speaking about his success on the investigation said something real about human trafficking on the Darknet. He said: “The Polish citizen (A DARKNET HUMAN TRAFFICKER) told detectives he organized several online auctions for the sale of abducted girls through advertisements describing prey and setting a starting figure, although it has not been established whether the man really kidnapped women in previous encounters or if he invented everything.”

The conference organized on the human trafficking is expected to present up-to-date data on human trafficking at the end of the month. About 46 million people are victims of modern slavery which includes sexual exploitation. This was revealed in a video presentation in the conference.

Despite the difficulties imposed by the Darknet affecting the smooth operation of the law enforcement, measures have been put in place to offset the attack of human traffickers on the Darknet.


Even though some experts believe that the Darknet has been a major obstacle in the fight against human trafficking, other agencies do not see any obstacle portrayed by the Darknet. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), in a fight against human trafficking introduced a multi-year project called Memex Program which has been at work since 2014 to expose all human trafficking activities on the internet.

If the work of the MEMEX is anything to go by, then there seems to be no reason for the Darknet to be a hindrance to the fight against this outrageous act.

The program has assisted in the gathering of evidence for the prosecution of human traffickers. According to an investigation, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office relies mostly on the program for most of its human trafficking cases.

The District office used the Memex to screen 4,752 potential human trafficking cases in the first six months of 2016.

Wade Shen is a program manager in DARPA’s Information Innovation Office. In an interview, she said: “Our goal is to understand the footprint of human trafficking in online spaces, whether that be the dark web or the clearnet. The term dark web is used to refer to the fact that crimes can be committed in those spaces because they’re anonymous and therefore, people can make use of [them] for nefarious activities.”

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