Report: Phones Become the ‘Frontline’ of Human Sex Trafficking
Much like drug dealers, human sex traffickers have started largely relying on prepaid mobile phones to conduct business, according to a new report by the University of Southern California.
“Mobile phones are playing a far more central role in this than we had ever thought,” says Mark Latonero, co-author of the report, The Rise of Mobile and the Diffusion of Technology-Facilitated Trafficking. “Mobile is the new frontline battleground in the fight against trafficking.”
Whereas just a few years ago, many human traffickers used Craigslist, Facebook, and other social media sites to recruit sex workers and solicit clients, much of that has moved over to cell phones, Latonero says.
According to a recent report, 19 percent of all phone numbers used on a Los Angeles adult online classified site were registered to MetroPCS, just one of many pre-paid cell phone carriers. That percentage is more than five times MetroPCS’s national market share of 3.4 percent.