Google, Facebook Accused of Profiting From Human Trafficking

by David Nussman  •  •  March 5, 2018   

Tech and social media giants used by sex trafficking rings

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LONDON ( - Britain is considering new legislation that will hold major tech companies like Google accountable for facilitating sex trafficking.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May was briefed about the growth of online sex trafficking, London's Sunday Times reported.

The Times explained that sex traffickers in Britain often set up temporary "shops" in apartments or hotel rooms, where trafficking victims are briefly available to customers for exploitation. Sex traffickers often use major websites like Facebook to get the word out to potential customers.

On Saturday night, the National Crime Agency (NCA) stated that web companies are a "key enabler for the sexual exploitation of trafficked victims in the United Kingdom."

Will Kerr from the NCA said, "People are using the internet and social media sites to enable sexual exploitation and trafficking."

He went on to argue, "It is clear that the internet platforms which host and make a profit out of this type of material need to do more to identify and stop these forms of exploitation."

Last May, British property tycoon David Archer was jailed for 13 years for running a massive "prostitution empire" using a pornographic website that clients could access via links on social media. Archer smuggled vulnerable women into the United Kingdom and had them exploited for pay at various hotels and brothels.

People are using the internet and social media sites to enable sexual exploitation and trafficking.

The proposed British legislation being considered by May and others is inspired by a bill in the United States called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). This bill is likely to pass the U.S. Senate.

Tech lobbying group Internet Association, funded by tech giants like Google and Facebook, used to strongly oppose SESTA. But after some controversy, Google and others dropped their opposition to the bill in November 2017. Some argue their opposition stopped because the bill got watered down.

The U.K. bill, according to The Times, could only take effect after Brexit is completed, which should be in March 2019. Brexit — a contraction of "Britain" and "exit" — was the successful push in the summer of 2016 to get the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. (Among the leaders of Brexit were Nigel Farage and the U.K. Independence Party.)

Ironically, the same tech companies being accused of helping sex traffickers are now being accused of censoring political conservatives.

Popular political commentator Mark Dice believes that tech companies are creating an "Orwellian nightmare" by censoring conservative voices like his. In a March 2 video, Dice lambasted YouTube's recent efforts to silence right-wing content creators like himself.

The term "Orwellian" is a reference to George Orwell, author of dystopian fiction work 1984. In the novel, the civilized world is forcefully and obsessively controlled by an all-present socialist government, personified under the nickname "Big Brother."

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