Nitika, BBA LL.B. Lovely Professional University, Punjab

Trafficking in persons is a major concern for global nations. The technologyand usage of Internet and electronic commerce have been accompanied by an increase in exploitation and abuse of technology for criminal activities. Internet and E-Commerceare increasingly used as a tool and medium by transnational organised crime. Trafficking in women is an obvious form of organised crime that has been affected by the new technology. This new form of acrime violates fundamental and basic human rights and freedom, and transcends national boundaries and territories to negatively impact on numerous countries across the world. It is estimated that over 900,000 people are being trafficked every year[1] .

Woman trafficking is a significant problem that affects almost every country throughout the world, as a source, transit or destination country or a combination of these.Men and children can also be trafficked for a diverse range of other purposes, including forced labour in industries such as hospitality, construction, forestry, mining or agriculture; domestic and sweatshop labour; illicit adoption; street begging; forced recruitment into militia or armed forces; and the harvesting of body organs.[2]

While woman trafficking is not a new phenomenon, the electronic commerce is a new resource for woman traffickers to find women, sell women, and at the same time conceal their own identities.[3] Because of the highly unregulated nature of the Internet,[4] pimps and those who purchase trafficked women are able to use this platform for criminal purposes with minimal risk of prosecution.[5]Further, the Internet allows those who exploit enslaved women to share experiences with an expansive World Wide Web audience, thereby normalising the victimisation of trafficked women.[6]Finally, because Internet websites have global reach; this paper discusses the need for international legal cooperation to further develop human rights law by more explicitly criminalising Internet-facilitated women trafficking.

There are many online media through which pimps and human traffickers lure young women into the commercial sex industry under false pretences.[7] Pimps and human traffickers then use these websites to sell the women they’ve enslaved as commercial sex workers.[8]It can call E-Commerce women trafficking.Although Craigslist has been notorious for hosting an “erotic” services page, pimps and human traffickers increasingly solicit women via a range of Internet websites, chat rooms, and peer-to-peer file sharing servers to which they and the women they seek have ample access.

Impact of Internet and E-Commerce on women trafficking                     

As awareness of women trafficking increases, we are learning more about how the Internet and E-Commerce impact onwomen trafficking. Runaway and Homeless programs must recognise that the internet and social media function as tools with the potential to facilitate women trafficking. They can also be utilised to interrupt it. Social media and the internet, as well as other networking technologies, provide traffickers with the ability to connect with potential victims. Traffickers are also able to manipulate potential victims’ lives in “real-time” by utilising technology to text or share and tag photos on social net working sites.

The United Nations have worked extensively on women and new technology, playing a groundbreaking role by drawing international attention to the positive and negative sides of Internet in relation to empowerment of women.

  1. to information, decision-making in media, employment/entrepreneurship, Access stereotyping, participation/actives

The United Nations have played a ground-breaking role by drawing international attention to  positive – and negative – sides of Internet in relation to empowerment of women. The 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action has included among its main Areas of concern that of “Women and the Media”, including new technologies of communication. The World Summits on the Information Society (WSIS) of 2003, 2005 and 2015 and related outcome documents and Agendas have also promoted the role of women in digital world.


  1. b) Harassment and sexual violence, trafficking/modern slavery

The UN has sponsored the so-called Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which does not mention explicitly the Internet. In November 2014, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon referred on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to issue of “the continued bullying of women on Internet.[9]


The Internet, and ease of communication and electronic commerce it offers, has facilitated the trafficking of women around the globe. Traffickers and potential purchasers of trafficking victims are increasingly using Internet websites, chat rooms, and peer-to-peer file-sharing servers to recruit and sell women byelectroniccommerce. Those who exploit trafficked women can use Internet to share stories about their experiences with broad audiences, normalising otherwise abhorrent behaviour. To fully achieve the goals of United 2010, Journalof High Technology Law 289 Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and the goals of countries including the United States, Canada and Australia in reducing, preventing, and prosecuting those who sexually exploit women , international law addressing modern trafficking must reach Internet activity. The most comprehensive solution to stemming online womentrafficking is to develop an international agreement explicitly prohibiting such activity. In order to involve countries such as the United States, who might be wary of regulating expressive content, the agreement could specify that it is kind of conduct promulgated over Internet–and not content of speech promulgated there–that constitutes criminal human trafficking violations. Moreover, many members of international community should assent to adopting Internet-specific anti-trafficking provisions because they have already expressed their commitment to prohibiting trafficking activity under the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women, and have established adomestic law which, in some cases, already reaches certain Internet activities. In the event that members of the international community would reject a new Internet-specific trafficking agreement, an optional protocol

to current Convention on Cybercrime could be adopted to protect women victimised by computer crimes arising out of countries who adopt the additional protocol. Further, an optional protocol could serve as a model for future legislation that would engage the broader international community. Eventually, comprehensive international law targeting internet-facilitated women trafficking could be established to protect those who are exploited by traffickers, paedophiles, and sexual deviants who covertly navigate the Internet to prey on the economic and social plight of women throughout the world.


[1] Judge MohmedChawki and Dr Mohamed Wahab, Computer Crime Research Center, March 05, 2005.

[2]Availableat _THE_FACTS_-_final.pdf

[3]Jacqui Cheng, Sheriff Files Lawsuit Over Craigslist’s Red-light District (Updated), ARS TECHNIA, Mar. 5, 2009, archived availableat (describing the ease of making fairly anonymous postings on Craigslist).

[4] Infra text accompanying note 102.


[6] See Explanatory Report; infra note 91, at 93.

[7]Matt Walberg, Sheriff Sues Craigslist as ‘largest source’ of Prostitution, CHICAGO BREAKING NEWS, Mar. 5, 2009, available at

[8] ASSOCIATED PRESS, Illinois: Sheriff Sues Craigslist, N. Y. TIMES, Mar. 5, 2009, availableat


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