20th April 2021 - Rabat, Morocco
Following in-depth training held in 2020 on data analysis to develop technical skills of law enforcement officers for effective and more rapid digital investigations, UNODC delivered 40,000USD worth of online investigative software to the cybercrime unit of the Moroccan General Directorate of National Security.
The software provided, funded by the European Union (EU), are considered as essential tools of open source investigations used to facilitate collection and analysis of data. Such modern investigative techniques will surely allow for an effective and rapid response to identify and investigate cases of migrant smuggling and human trafficking.
In the early days of the web, they used stand-alone sites, before exploiting the potential of classified ad sites and then moving into social media. Traffickers exploit internet to operate in multiple locations simultaneously while physically exploiting the victims in just one location. The first case of online trafficking recorded by UNODC took place in the early 2000s, when a free-standing webpage was used to connect buyers with local agents.
Now, internet-based trafficking spans from the basic advertisement of victims online, to advanced combinations of smartphone apps in integrated business models to recruit victims and transfer profits. Technology is used not only for sexual exploitation but also to coerce victims into crime and forced labour, and to advertise the selling of kidneys harvested from victims they have trafficked.
Internet tools have been integrated into the business models of traffickers at every stage of the process. In the recruitment phase, two types of strategy can be identified from court case summaries reviewed by UNODC – “hunting” and “fishing”.
Dismantling the criminal networks operating in North Africa and involved in migrant smuggling and human trafficking" is a three-year (2019-2022) €15 million regional joint initiative by the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) under the framework of the North Africa Window of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The project consists of a regional intervention covering Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia to support the effective dismantling of criminal networks involved in migrant smuggling and human trafficking, while at the same time upholding the rights of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and vulnerable groups.
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