The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has issued another warning to singles about the continued danger of human traffickers on online dating platforms.
Criminals use the opportunity to get vulnerable individuals to open up about their personal situations. From there, they can trick victims with coercion and fraud tactics, or just with the promise of human companionship.
Data from the US National Human Trafficking Hotline shows that almost 1,000 sex trafficking victims between 2015 and 2018 were ‘recruited’ through dating and social media services.
A spokesperson for the IC3 explained in a statement: “Offenders often exploit dating apps and websites to recruit – and later advertise – sex trafficking victims. In addition, offenders are increasingly recruiting labor trafficking victims through what appear to be legitimate job offers.”
IC3 added that traffickers have access to a large number of individuals and then try to lure them into a false sense of trust by capitalising on their personal situations.
Victims are often teenage girls and young women who are experiencing family issues or have financial difficulties.
The FBI published a similar caution last year about romance fraud, and asked daters to make sure that they never sent money to someone they’d met online.
Victims of romance fraud in the US lost a total of $143 million in 2018.
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