HACKATON Nine suspected human traffickers, nine potential victims and nearly 42 suspicious platforms have been identified

War in Ukraine: Operation campaign against online human trafficking

Internally displaced people watch from a bus at a refugee center in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, Friday, March 25, 2022. — Evgeniy Maloletka/AP/SIPA

It’s a dragnet to protect Ukrainians fleeing the invasion of their country. The European Police Office has announced this Thursday that a European operation had identified suspected human traffickers entrapping Ukrainian victims online.

Nine suspected human traffickers, nine potential victims and nearly 42 suspicious platforms were identified. identified during a « hackathon » on May 23, clarified; Europol in a press release. During this day of online action, 93 investigators targeted “ criminal networks grooming Ukrainian refugees for sexual and labor exploitation via websites and social media platforms,” Europol.

Ukrainian women targeted

Officers focused on following up on posts offering help to refugees with transportation, accommodation and work. Dating sites and recruitment sites have been monitored, as well as platforms offering sexual services. Many platforms appear to be taking significant steps to combat the misuse of their platforms for smuggling Ukrainian refugees. Europol.

“ However, law enforcement found a significant number of suspicious job offers targeting Ukrainian women, some described as “photo shoots”, » the pantry.

Offers “ a bright future » to “ sexual exploitation »

“ Investigators have identified attempts to lure victims with offers of a “bright future”, which led them to sexual exploitation » Europol, stating that « suspicious activities have been detected on a wide range of platforms, including Russian-language », he added.

Judicial authorities from 14 countries of the European Union participated in the to this day of online action, led by the Netherlands. 15 new surveys were completed. open. Europol alerted in March against the risk for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the invasion of their country of falling into human trafficking networks when arriving in the EU, urging host countries to stay alert.