This Module deals with some of the links between cybercrime, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. The Module reflects the relevant articles of the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), the Protocol to Prevent, Supress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Protocol against Trafficking in Persons), and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air (Protocol against Smuggling of Migrants). This Module focuses on how technology is used to commit crime in the context of trafficking and smuggling, with a particular focus on the use of the Internet in cybercrime. It also acknowledges that State investigations should not infringe data and privacy rights, particularly of victims.
Perpetrators of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants may exploit the Internet to facilitate organized crime in numerous ways, such as:
Trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants offer lucrative business opportunities for organized criminal groups (see Modules 1 and 6). With the development and advancement of modern technologies and the ever-expanding role of the Internet, it is essential that law enforcement agencies, particularly those specializing in cybercrime, maintain an up-to-date understanding of how criminals are using the Internet to commit trafficking and smuggling crimes and how organized criminal groups use increasingly sophisticated technologies to evade detection, particularly through use of the dark web. Cryptocurrencies also present a new challenge to law enforcement, with criminals embracing this technology in order to launder the proceeds of crime. For more information, also see the Teaching Module Series on Cybercrime.
Tackling the linkages between trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants and cybercrime requires a commitment to the development and adaptation of modern technologies to counteract, detect, investigate and prosecute cyber-based offending (also see Module 13 on Cyber Organized Crime of the Teaching Module Series on Cybercrime). At the same time, State authorities must be mindful that they avoid the practices that violate the rights of migrants and victims. Students should develop an understanding of the investigative techniques used in their domestic jurisdiction and the mechanisms available for international cooperation. This may help identify gaps in countering trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.