“Spotting the signs” of trafficking recruitment online: Exploring the characteristics of advertisements targeted at migrant job-seekers

Ada Volodko*, Ella Cockbain, Bennett Kleinberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Despite considerable concern about how human trafficking offenders may use the Internet to recruit their victims, arrange logistics or advertise services, the Internet-trafficking nexus remains unclear. This study explored the prevalence and correlates of a set of commonly-used indicators of labour trafficking in online job advertisements. Taking a case study approach, we focused on a major Lithuanian website aimed at people seeking work abroad. We examined a snapshot of job advertisements (n = 430), assessing both their general characteristics (e.g. industry, destination country) and the presence of trafficking indicators. The vast majority (98.4%) contained at least one indicator, suggesting certain "indicators" may in fact be commonplace characteristics of this labour market. Inferential statistical tests revealed significant but weak relationships between the advertisements’ characteristics and the number and nature of indicators present. While there may be value in screening job advertisements to identify potential labour trafficking and exploitation, additional information is needed to ascertain actual labour trafficking. We conclude with an outlook on automated approaches to identifying cases of possible trafficking and a discussion of the benefits and ethical concerns of a data science-driven approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-35
JournalTrends in Organized Crime
Volume23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Data automation
  • EASTERN-EUROPE
  • Human trafficking
  • Internet
  • LABOR
  • Labour exploitation
  • Labour trafficking
  • Migration
  • Recruitment
  • Transnational crime

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