How Does Human Trafficking Thrive on the Dark Web?
September 14th, 2017
The news of British model Chloe Ayling being lured and kidnapped to be sold on the Dark Web has captured worldwide attention. While the 20-year-old’s story seems unbelievable, it’s actually not unique on the Dark Web.
In addition to clearly nefarious transactions, Intsights has also found a by-market on the Dark Web that is extremely useful for traffickers: fake documents to shield a victim’s true identity, along with weapons and drugs that could be used to force women to submit to demands. The underground market helps traffickers lure, kidnap and transport unsuspecting victims around the world to be sold without the notice of law enforcement.
The Story that Brought the Issue to Light
According to reports, Ayling was lured to a meeting by a group called "The Black Death". One of its members, 30-year-old Polish national Pawel Lukasz Herba, has been arrested for the crime, along with his brother. Herba alone has allegedly made 15 million Euros from trafficking women across Europe, so this is clearly big business.
Who is Behind This?
“The Black Death” has been active on the Dark Web for at least two years, but some researchers believe it is a hoax and ignore its online activity. Whether Herba was part of this group or just a rogue criminal doesn’t much matter. Even if he acted alone, it is clear that he was inspired by the group's online activity, which could in turn result in even more copycat criminals.
Is Anyone Monitoring the Dark Web?
The fact is that human trafficking is alive and well on the Dark Web, and this disturbing incident has brought it to light. It also raises questions about how the Dark Web is being monitored, if at all. If the group has indeed acted online undisturbed for the past two years (unlikely, though possible), it is crucial that law enforcement put more emphasis on monitoring such activity on the Deep and Dark Webs.
It is also noteworthy that human trafficking is conducted on a massive scale and daily basis worldwide, and involves forced labor or the sexual coercion of individuals, most of whom lack the basic personal and legal means to protect themselves. The criminals behind human trafficking rings often utilize the internet’s reach to locate potential buyers of such services, using classified sites and Dark Web platforms, which provide greater anonymity. Traffickers also seek victims through the internet by publishing bogus job offers and other bait to lure individuals into their grasp.
It is crucial that law enforcement hunt down these criminals to protect other potential victims. They might try infiltrating the platforms by pretending to be an interested potential customer, and extracting information from them that could lead to the uncovering and arrest of the individuals responsible.
Alon Arvatz is Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder of IntSights Cyber Intelligence. As CPO, Alon is the visionary leading IntSights’ product and service strategy, including product development, threat research and intelligence gathering operations. Alon is a veteran of an elite Cybersecurity Intelligence Unit of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) where he led and coordinated global cyber intelligence campaigns, gaining vast experience and knowledge working in one of the most innovative operational settings in the world.
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