GRETA calls on States, civil society and technology companies to work together to respect and protect human rights and the rule of law on the Internet

On the occasion of the world day against human traffickingthe Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) joins the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) to call on States Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings to combat the growing use of technology to recruit, advertise and exploit victims of human trafficking , and to exploit the great potential that technology can have in the fight against this crime.

GRETA President Helga Gayer said: “Countries monitored by GRETA have reported increased use of the internet and mobile phones for the recruitment and monitoring of victims of trafficking. Building the knowledge and capacity of law enforcement/law enforcement officers, labor inspectors, prosecutors and judges, and enabling cooperation at all levels, is a crucial part of the response to cyber-trafficking . »

In March this year, GRETA published a new report detailing strategies, tools and good practices to overcome existing challenges and strengthen responses to online and ICT-facilitated human trafficking. The report provides evidence-based recommendations on how to improve the detection, investigation and prosecution of technology-facilitated trafficking, cooperation with private businesses and international cooperation.

Challenges posed by technology in investigating human trafficking cases include data encryption, large volume of data, lack of technical equipment and training, and inadequate legislative tools. There is therefore a need to invest in building the capacity of law enforcement officers in the areas of internet surveillance, cyber patrols, undercover online investigations and the use of open source intelligence, social media analytics and automatic search to analyze evidence.

At the same time, the second additional protocol to the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention), which was opened for signature in May 2022, provides new tools for enhanced co-operation and a framework to achieve electronic evidence more efficiently.

Cooperation with private companies is crucial to combating human trafficking, and should involve the development of cooperation protocols and data sharing procedures for requesting evidence and removing content related to human trafficking.

“Technology-enabled anti-trafficking policies must be designed and implemented with careful consideration of human rights, including the rights to privacy, freedom of expression and freedom from -discrimination”, added the President of GRETA. “The best interests of the victims must be at the heart of any action”.

Statements from the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) on the occasion of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2022 (PDF 197KB)

Statement by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights: In times of crisis, States must redouble their efforts to prevent trafficking in human beings and protect victims


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