University of Southern California USC

Primary Research: Diffusion of Technology-Facilitated Human Trafficking

Beyond Backpage

As noted in the introduction, a number of reports have surfaced that identify a broader set of online venues where DMST could potentially occur than previously recognized. If these reports are accurate, advertising of potential trafficking victims may have diffused beyond the major websites like Backpage. To date, little evidence has been collected to support such claims. To explore the potential diffusion of technology-facilitated trafficking more closely, we examined a number of online classified ad sites and adult sites that have been identified in reports as potentially containing advertisements for DMST.

As discussed in the CCLP 2011 report, no researcher or investigator can ascertain with 100% confidence that a particular online advertisement is a positive case of DMST, just as one cannot be completely certain whether an advertisement is a negative case. Various indicators, such as keywords, may increase the probability of properly identifying potential cases of DMST. To increase the probability further, a trained expert is needed to identify a potential victim of minor sex trafficking.

It is clear from prior research that online classified ad sites and adult sites have been used to facilitate sex trafficking. While Backpage is a highly visible online classified site that advertises commercial sex in adult sections, numerous other online classified ad sites reportedly average more than 100,000 unique U.S. users per month, including Adult Search, MyRedBook, and Cityvibe.[1] Thus we sought to investigate if online advertising from posters follows a pattern of diffusion across multiple sites.

Our primary research suggests that individual phone numbers are often linked to similar posts on multiple sites. For example, we selected one ad from Backpage that contained key terms that were identified in our last report as potential indicators of DMST: “18,” “girl,” “new,” and “visiting.”

Using a simple Google search, the same phone number was found in escort advertisements across adult classified ad sites including, but not limited, to Backpage, EroticMugShots, MyRedBook, LocalEscortPages, MyProviderGuide, FindHotEscorts, Adult Search, and nsaPals.[2] The phone number was also found in ads in multiple cities on Backpage: Backpage Los Angeles, Backpage San Francisco, and Backpage Las Vegas. And the same phone number was associated with similar-looking photos with different names on MyRedBook.

We make no assertion that the example to the left and above is a case of sex trafficking. We do assume that based on prior evidence, DMST may take place on such platforms, and that simple searches for certain identifiers can reveal common advertising methods that may be utilized by traffickers. Based on our observations, one can hypothesize that advertising across multiple sites, beyond Backpage, is a common practice in general. Other sites and platforms that have been reportedly used by adults to solicit or recruit minors for commercial sex range from broadly popular sites such as Facebook and MySpace[3] to more niche networks such as Tagged.com,[4] and gaming sites such as MocoSpace[5] and Xbox Live.[6] Further evidence-based research is needed to investigate these claims.

Analysis of Phone Numbers in Online Classified Ad Sites

Looking at publicly available data from posts in the Los Angeles adult section of a popular online classified site from March 1, 2012, through May 31, 2012, we examined posts with regard to the publicly listed phone number, age. We analyzed the posts to determine the number of unique posts over the three-month period, how many unique phone numbers were used in these posts, and how frequently each unique phone number was used in different posts.

One finding is that while our data set included 18,429 unique posts in this adult section over three months, only 4,753 unique telephone numbers are associated with these posts. Of those 4,753 unique numbers, about half (2,050) posted a sex advertisement only once during the three months. The other 2,703 unique phone numbers were identified across multiple postings in the adult section.

Number of posts collected from adult section 3/1/2012–5/31/2012

18,429

Number of unique phone numbers listed within these 18,429 posts

4,753

Number of unique phone numbers associated with one post only

2,050

Number of unique phone numbers associated with multiple posts

2,703

Number of unique phone numbers associated with 25+ posts

112

An examination of the frequency of posts by area code provides a snapshot of the geographical layout of adult section posts. Predictably, the majority of posts for the an online adult classified  site for Los Angeles come from Los Angeles County and Orange County area codes. However, the central California exchange 559 exhibits a high number of posts relative to its proximity to Los Angeles.

A number of free and pay sites on the web offer services to determine the origin of a phone number. Using one of these common online services for the numbers collected during the three month period, our research indicates that Metro PCS accounted for 19.1% of the total phone numbers followed by T-Mobile (14.6%), ATT Mobile (11.3), Sprint (10.3%), Verizon Wireless (9.6%), Wireline (8.8%), Boost (4.1%), Bandwidth.com (3.2), Virgin Mobile (3.1), Cricket (3%), and Level 3 Communications (1.6%).

The prevalence of mobile phone carriers provides insights into the role mobile in potential cases of DMST.

Interviews with Law Enforcement

Research Scope and Methods

If DMST is understood as a complex issue requiring a multi-professional[7] and multi-sector response, then anti-trafficking efforts in one sector, such as law enforcement, have an impact on responses in other sectors.[8] To understand the ways in which current anti-trafficking efforts involving technology foster intended and unintended consequences for frontline law enforcement as well as for individuals vulnerable to trafficking, we collected and analyzed primary data based on observational studies and interviews with local and federal law enforcement responsible for identifying cases of DMST.[9]

Data-collection activities included firsthand observations of law enforcement identification efforts and in-depth interviews with 15 key local and federal law enforcement agents over an 18-week period in six urban and metropolitan areas. Interviews and observations were broadly focused on law enforcement perceptions of technology and how law enforcement leverages technology to investigate human trafficking cases.[10]

A key insight in the CCLP 2011 report was that technology can both facilitate trafficking and be harnessed to combat it. Law enforcement perceptions of technology can similarly advance or hinder the technological solutions that may best support responses to DMST. While data from law enforcement can offer important insights about DMST cases identified to date and offer clues as to how DMST cases are impacted by technology, it is by no means exhaustive. We have chosen to focus on primary research with law enforcement since they have historically been charged with identifying victims of DMST and prosecuting traffickers.[11]

We do not mean to imply, however, that law enforcement or criminal justice constitute the only effective responses to DMST. Future research might focus on how public health and non-governmental anti-trafficking efforts can be leveraged to assist vulnerable and exploited youth. It is additionally important to note that the perspectives of trafficked youth are invaluable to understanding the dynamics of technology-facilitated trafficking and the most appropriate socio-technical solutions. However, little research is available on trafficked youths’ perceptions of anti-trafficking interventions and fewer still that focus on technology. This study sought to include interviews with trafficked youth; however, researchers were confronted with methodological issues, including gate keeping by some NGOs, social service providers, and probation departments, which, in an effort to protect youth, remain hesitant to partner with researchers. Anti-trafficking stakeholders might therefore consider partnering with social science researchers who are trained experts in designing studies that prioritize the perspectives of trafficked youth.

Finally, we caution that data gleaned from qualitative interviews and direct observations are not generalizable, do not resolve questions about the quantitative scope of the problem, or whether technology directly correlates with increased rates of DMST. These, too, are areas that need more evidence-based research. The qualitative data presented here is neither all-inclusive nor reflective of the perspectives of all law enforcement on these issues. Despite these limitations, this study nonetheless aims to describe how law enforcement understands the connections between technology and DMST and the solutions they deem most appropriate to solving the problem.

Craigslist Revisited

When Craigslist indefinitely shut down its adult services section,[12] it was widely seen as an important milestone in curbing DMST. Yet, law enforcement agents interviewed for a separate study[13] urged caution about the overall impact of shuttering the Craigslist adult section, suggesting that closing one site runs the risk of sending traffic to other online advertisement and social networking sites.[14] Some have colloquially referred to this as the “whac-a-mole”[15] problem and claim that shutting down one site does not address the root causes of the problem, such as the wider issue of demand for exploited and underage youth.

The Craigslist case study holds lessons to those involved in policy discussions, specifically regarding the effective relationships between Craigslist and law enforcement personnel. Two years after the shutdown of Craigslist’s adult services section, some law enforcement still comment on the impact its closure had on their work. One federal law enforcement agent who worked on a number of DMST cases summarized:

There was a big outrage that Craigslist was allowing prostitution and juvenile prostitution to occur. My response to that was that they were very pro-law enforcement. If I serve them, I get the subpoena back, the results [of] which help my case. My response was that they were always very cooperative. Yeah, we don’t like it. But guess what? If you shut that down, they’re going to go somewhere else. And what happened? The Craigslist Adult Section gets shut down and what happened? Now they go to RedBook. Now I can’t even get a response from RedBook because they’re based out of the country. So, we don’t like it, but, in order for us to fight child prostitution and combat this problem, we’re going to have to go after it from different angles. It’s not just law enforcement but it’s everybody. We need to work together in order to address this problem.[16]

This agent’s narrative raises several critical issues. Chief among them is that shutting down the Craigslist adult services section routed traffic to other online sites such as MyRedBook, which is located beyond the U.S. government’s jurisdictional reach. These observations suggest that the closure of Craigslist affected pre-established cooperation arrangements between the company and law enforcement. This issue should not be underestimated given the extensive time, energy, and institutional will required to forge mutually beneficial anti-trafficking collaborations.[17] According to some law enforcement agents, some of the cooperative agreements that were formed between Craigslist and law enforcement—including the company’s timely response to subpoenas, as well as the requirement that posters verify their phone number, provide credit card authorization, and pay a “fee to post an adult service ad”[18]—were terminated when the section was shut down.

Not all respondents agree that Craigslist was an ally to law enforcement; neither has all law enforcement lamented its closure. Even among respondents who recognized Craigslist’s pro-active law enforcement efforts, some stressed that cooperation alone did not provide sufficient reason to keep its adult section open, as detailed by one police officer:

I think it comes down to a moral perspective. I don’t necessarily think that allowing [Craigslist’s adult section] to stay open so they can profit from [sex trafficking] is the right thing to do. When Craigslist started taking the heat that it did, everybody went to Backpage. Well, we were able to follow them to Backpage. If Backpage were to get closed down on its escort activities, we would follow them wherever they go next. Some of the concerns I’ve heard about that are that once companies go [to an] offshore server, we wouldn’t have any reach. That poses us a new technological problem, but I don’t think that we should shy away from doing the right thing now for fear that we wouldn’t be able to do the right thing later.[19]

Although law enforcement perspectives on the issue are wide-ranging, the Craigslist case study points to the “missed opportunity to explore creative solutions to the problem of trafficking online.”[20] In light of the recent push to expand collaborative alliances between technology companies and law enforcement, such as initiatives advanced by Google, Microsoft, and Palantir, the Craigslist case underscores the need for industry-wide strategies and standards of cooperation to ensure that law enforcement can respond adequately to each new technology and social media company that emerges. Finally, it demonstrates the policy limitations of focusing on one site without considering the broader digital ecosystem that facilitates human trafficking.

The Anti-trafficking Digital Universe

Primary research with law enforcement personnel indicates that the digital universe used to facilitate DMST is far more diverse, diffuse, adaptive, and geographically complex than previously discussed. Online classified advertising sites are still widely acknowledged as an important focus for law enforcement. However, a variety of other social, informational, and mobile networking sites, including Facebook, MocoSpace, and Tagged, play an increasingly critical role in fostering the recruitment of minors into sex trafficking and in providing a platform for trafficker-pimps, trafficked minors, and johns to maintain communication with one another more generally. Facebook and MocoSpace in particular were cited as popular networks for the recruitment of minors for commercial sex, though law enforcement has limited knowledge and training in navigating social networking sites.[21]

Initial evidence suggests that because social networking sites can be accessed through mobile applications on smartphones, these networks play a more significant role in recruiting and advertising minors than has been previously documented, though more research is needed. Such findings also raise a few important issues. First, social networking sites blur the boundaries between what counts as “recruitment” and “advertisement.” Although social media sites may be places of initial recruitment, they can also facilitate communication between traffickers and trafficked persons. For example, according to interviews and observations, youth report having had access to their traffickers’ Facebook passwords and regularly using social media accounts while still in their trafficking situations.[22] Furthermore, since classified ad sites are widely assumed to be the main venue for advertisement of DMST, law enforcement respondents acknowledge that social networks coupled with mobile phones and applications provide a multidimensional, participatory, networked realm for minors, traffickers, and johns to communicate with one another. Second, and specific to DMST, traffickers and trafficked minors are not solely utilizing one ad site but rather draw upon a variety of sites and technologies, such as chat rooms, message boards, and text messages.[23]

A federal agent described the state of technology-facilitated DMST:

Last week we had a case where a juvenile was lured into prostitution by a Facebook account. [Facebook] has definitely played a role in the work we do. These girls use [cell] phones, the Internet … Now everything, all the ads are being posted through the Internet. Child prostitution and prostitution is occurring from a computer to a hotel room.[24]

This agent’s observation suggests an important technological shift in the dynamics of DMST. Law enforcement perspectives suggest the emergence of a multi-platform digital ecosystem that defines underage sex trafficking and online and networked sociality more generally. Just as individuals are leading ever more “mobile and networked” lives[25] and using social media and mobile phones in novel ways, trafficked minors and traffickers are too, but with varying degrees of technological fluency.

Law enforcement interviews further showcase the ways in which the Internet, social media, and mobile phones are changing the dynamics of street-based prostitution. Despite the fact that traffickers may use social media such as Twitter,[26] MocoSpace,[27] YouTube, and Facebook[28] to recruit and advertise minors, law enforcement also notes that traffickers diverge in their technological sophistication. This is an important finding and useful to broader assumptions about the connection between online and offline variations of DMST. Law enforcement interviews call attention to the fact that street-based commercial sex has not gone away per se, but that it may now primarily be used when access to technology is limited. Street-based commercial sex may also be used when digital tools do not deliver immediate financial returns, as one federal agent described:

Some pimps will just post [minors] online and if it’s a slow day and they’re not getting calls, they’ll go to the tracks and start working. Sometimes they’re [minors] walking the stroll carrying their cell phone so they have ads at the same time as they’re walking the stroll. I think it all really depends on the pimp. Some pimps don’t have [minors] walking the stroll at all. Some pimps don’t use the Internet at all … we had a case of an entire family of pimps who were pimping out juveniles and they had their own little system of using cell phones without using the Internet.[29]

Although technology may contribute to DMST, the saliency of technology seems closely tied to traffickers’ and trafficked youths’ access to and familiarity with various technologies, and the social capital they wield more generally.[30] Here, the pertinence of technology could be tied to traffickers’ and trafficked minors’ age, race, gender, class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation—though, again, more in-depth research is needed. While the online preferences and social networking behaviors of traffickers and trafficked persons may vary extensively, interviews with law enforcement stressed the widespread importance of one technology: mobile phones.

Mobile Phones

Those in law enforcement interviewed for this study widely recognized the critical importance of mobile phones in combination with social networking and classified ad sites in facilitating the recruitment and advertisement of minors. Interviewees also described mobile and smartphones—whether those belonging to traffickers or trafficked persons—as an “evidentiary gold mine” and an important part, if not the most critical element, in building their cases against traffickers. One agent who works on cyber crimes including DMST cases relayed:

Cell phones and smart phones are a key part of our investigations. As smart phones get smarter, I like to think of them as tiny computers … [Y]our typical, cheap cell phone allows you to get online, allows you to check your Facebook, that’s the norm I think … [E]very year, the smart phones get cheaper. If you think of a smart phone as a tiny computer, anything you do on your email, your Skyping, your Facebook, all that happens to be on a phone form factor rather than on your laptop. Almost everyone has cell phones. That’s the way they communicate.[31]

Law enforcement recognizes the importance of data obtained from mobile phones and using technology to build trafficking cases. Such data may be used to corroborate relationships between traffickers and trafficked youth, and in gathering information about traffickers, such as trafficked persons’ movement and geolocation. These benefits also raise questions about balancing privacy rights and civil liberties more generally with the need for safety and security of minors in particular. Further research on this topic is needed.

Mobility itself poses other issues for law enforcement. Whereas old telephones were fixed to a location, cell phones afford users the freedom to roam. . This challenge is compounded by the fact that the data retention practices of telecommunications companies vary extensively[32] and each mobile device is has different functionalities, particularly in terms of geolocation services. How should private companies protect consumer data while aiding law enforcement with active investigations where minors are at risk? Other questions arise as a result of the expansion of the mobile phone and mobile application universe in the absence of industry-wide standards about how to store data and how to respond to law enforcement subpoenas and preservation letter requests in a timely, consistent, and easily searchable format. Thus the use of mobile phones in DMST, and the rapidly changing nature of those devices, require law enforcement to stay continuously current in their training on technology and policy.

Shifting Investigative Tactics: Online Low-Hanging Fruit

Interviews with law enforcement suggest that the technological tools used by trafficker-pimps and trafficked youth vary extensively. Law enforcement officers focus their investigative tactics on well-known classified ad sites for two primary reasons: limited resources and the widespread perception that DMST is moving indoors, facilitated “from a computer to a hotel room.” One local sex crimes investigator summed up his task force’s focus this way:

We don’t just go to the [street] tracks. We go online first and try to see who is a juvenile from the ads. Then we set up stings with an undercover officer and try to get dates. We score a lot of juveniles this way.[33]

For this officer, going online means monitoring well-known classified ad sites. Another vice detective with extensive experience in domestic and international sex and forced labor cases confirmed this trend:

Our general jumping-off point is the websites. Backpage, Naughty Reviews, Humaniplex, MyRedBook, all these websites that we access, we look at the pictures, and then we’re able to target, based on the picture, people that we may believe are being trafficked. We don’t generally troll Facebook. We’re trolling the adult classifieds.[34]

Law enforcement interviews suggest that policing the “tracks” where street-based commercial sex is known to take place is akin to going after “low-hanging fruit.” The visibility and accessibility of street-based commercial sex render it far easier to police and investigate than indoor commercial sex venues, such as clubs, brothels, or hotel rooms.

In much the same way that street-based “tracks” are the low-hanging fruit of anti-trafficking policing efforts, online classified ad sites like Backpage and MyRedBook have emerged as the online equivalent of low-hanging fruit. These sites are visible, accessible, and well known to law enforcement staff. On one hand, this accessibility makes it easy even for those who have limited training in technology-oriented investigative tactics or who are restricted in their online access to participate in investigations. On the other hand, law enforcement’s widely known presence on popular classified ad sites has led some local police and anti-trafficking experts to see it as the “bottom of the online barrel,” frequented by some of the least technologically savvy trafficker-pimps.

Interviews with law enforcement underscore the prominence of classified ad sites in facilitating trafficking. However, they also suggest that law enforcement’s presence on and awareness of well-known classified ad sites have prompted experienced trafficker-pimps to go elsewhere, such as a new crop of sex-specific classified ad sites. Law enforcement also note that some users of classified ad sites are becoming more sophisticated, using anonymizing tools in an effort to evade detection and surveillance by law enforcement personnel. The presence of undercover officers on well-known sites has led one detective to speculate, “no one uses Backpage anymore. Everyone thinks cops are on there now.”[35] Although digital technologies are rapidly changing, law enforcement agents’ lack of technological resources and training, particularly at the local level, might explain the focus only on classified ad sites without more attention to the wider digital ecosystem used to facilitate DMST.

Low-Tech Challenges to High-Tech Anti-trafficking Efforts

In spite of recent governmental and corporate attention to leveraging high-tech solutions to address human trafficking, data from law enforcement underscore some persisting low-tech issues, including (1) uneven technological training, (2) a lack of resources and capacity to respond to the issues, and (3) gaps in effectively sharing information across multiple jurisdictions and professional sectors.

Anti-trafficking training is generally prescribed for law enforcement agents, though particular emphasis has been placed on training specialists in policies and legal instruments.[36] Because of the multi-jurisdictional nature of the problem and a lack of uniformity in anti-trafficking training, gaps exist in information sharing between local and federal law enforcement agents and among specialized units and frontline patrol officers. According to interviews, federal law enforcement task forces have aided with some of these training and capacity issues. One federal agent commented:

One way we address a lack of technology training and resources is in the context of a task force. By being a part of a task force that involves several local agencies…we’re able to provide funding, training, and equipment to those members who sign an agreement with us and literally sit co-located with us in the same office. [We] host trainings and send agents and officers to a more broad training, whether law enforcement in general or a more broad industry training, to social networking or high-tech training to have a well-rounded training base. It’s basically a network—a network where we meet annually for conferences to discuss how different districts are handling trends.[37]

Local and federal law enforcement interviewed for this study acknowledge the important role that federal law enforcement task forces plays in filling some of the local gaps in capacity and training, specifically with respect to the analysis of digital evidence. Yet, local officers also observe that, though federal law enforcement may have more technological capacity and training, they have limited resources to offer technological assistance to every local law enforcement agency or individual officer that requires it. In general, a widespread lack of comprehensive technological training exists, particularly at the local level. As one police officer shared: “These investigations are new for all of us. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. We are learning from our mistakes.”[38] Whereas some units and police departments have in-house analysts dedicated to analyzing online content and digitized evidence, many jurisdictions lack such experts, leaving local police officers with limited knowledge and insufficient training, gaps which are likely to increase in the wake of widespread cuts to local, state, and federal law enforcement budgets.

Many jurisdictions also lack the most basic equipment. For example, text messages from mobile phones can assist law enforcement in building their cases, yet not all agencies have forensic data extraction services or forensic equipment and machines on site to extract cell phone data. Yet, it is not solely a lack of sophisticated equipment that impedes law enforcement investigations of DMST. In addition, some agencies restrict local agents’ access to social networking and classified ad sites, impeding agents’ ability to gather information. Finally, though human trafficking is a multi-jurisdictional issue, law enforcement agencies, especially at the local level, have varied access to information and databases outside of their jurisdictions.

This primary research reflects new trends and pressing technological challenges that confront law enforcement and impact their anti-trafficking responses. In addition to the multi-platform digital ecosystem that facilitates DMST and defines online, mobile, and networked communication patterns more generally, a lack of law enforcement training, resources, and gaps in knowledge-sharing pose considerable challenges in leveraging the benefits that technology offers in combating DMST.

 



[1]               Site traffic data retrieved from www.quantcast.com on October 19, 2012. Quantcast estimates Adult Search’s monthly unique visitors at 467,868, MyRedBook’s at 243,360, and Cityvibe’s at 138,402.

[2]               These results were found using the site search function on Google on August 29, 2012. For example, to find how many results the phone number returned on Backpage, the following search was entered into Google: ““702-***-****” site:backpage.com.” With these search parameters, Google returned results for the phone number in quotes.

 

[3]               Associated Press (June 26, 2012) Justin Strom pleads guilty to sex trafficking. Retrieved August 30, 2012, from www.wjla.com/articles/2012/06/justin-strom-to-enter-plea-in-prostitution-ring-77307.html.

[4]              Aslanian, S. (May 30, 2012) Sex trafficking: migration to Internet brings new victims, customers, Minnesota Public Radio News. Retrieved August 30, 2012, from minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/05/30/underage-sex-trafficking.

[5]               MocoSpace was described by Forbes as “the largest mobile gaming community in North America.” Available at www.forbes.com/sites/johngaudiosi/2011/12/20/new-report-details-demographics-of-mobile-gamers-buying-virtual-goods. One example of MocoSpace being used for DMST: Hunt, D. (November 4, 2011) Fort Worth man sentenced to 8 years for luring teen into prostitution, Star-Telegram. Retrieved August 30, 2012, from www.star-telegram.com/2011/11/03/3498599/fort-worth-man-sentenced-to-8.html.

[6]               Anderson, N. (January 10, 2012) CSI: Xbox—how cops perform Xbox Live stakeouts and console searches, Ars Technica. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/01/searches-and-xbox-live-stakeouts-how-cops-investigate-consoles; and Shively, M., Kliorys, K., & Hunt, D. (2012) National Overview of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Efforts, Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, p. 19.

[7]               Musto, J. (2011) Institutionalizing Protection, Professionalizing Victim Management: Explorations of Multi-Professional Anti-Trafficking Efforts in the Netherlands and the United States. Doctoral dissertation (Los Angeles: University of California).

[8]               Foot, K. (October 2011) “Challenges in Inter-organizational and Multi-sector Collaboration Against Human Trafficking,” Proceedings of the Third Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking, University of Nebraska, Lincoln. See also Foot & Vanek (2012).

[9]               Lindstrom, N. (2007) “Transnational Responses to Human Trafficking: The Politics of Anti-Trafficking in the Balkans,” in H. Friman and S. Reich, eds., Human Trafficking, Human Security, and the Balkans (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press).

[10]           This study received Institutional Review Board approval.

[11]             boyd et al. (2011).

[12]             Singel, R. (December 18, 2010) “Craigslist Shuts Down International ‘Adult Services’ Sections,” Wired. Available at www.wired.com/business/2010/12/craigslist-adult-services-international.

[13]             This study was focused on U.S. governmental and NGO anti-trafficking interventions.

[14]             Musto (2011).

[15]             In an interview following the closure of the adult section of Craigslist, John Palfrey, director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, discussed the “whac-a-mole” problem, noting that “information will keep popping up online … [S]trategically, you have to go to the root causes, and not just focus on the intermediaries, like the Phoenix or Craigslist, but directly on the wrongdoers.” Woolhouse, M. (September 2010) Craigslist sex-ad ban doesn’t end web listings, Boston Globe, p. B.7. Retrieved from search.proquest.com/docview/749807619?accountid=14953. Despite Palfrey’s and others’ recognition of the limitations of focusing on one site, the whac-a-mole approach persists. However, recent efforts advanced by Microsoft and Google to disrupt illegal and illicit activities on its networks suggest that new technological approaches to addressing human trafficking are under way.

[16]             Musto. Personal communication, June 29, 2012.

[17]             Musto (2011). See also, Foot, K. & Toft, A. (2010) “Collaborating Against Human Trafficking,” Proceedings of the Second Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, digitalcommons.unl.edu/humtrafconf2/20.

[18]             Consalvo, L. (September 25, 2010) “Craigslist defends its actions,” Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Retrieved from search.proquest.com/docview/754921517?accountid=14953.

[19]             Musto. Personal communication, July 30, 2012.

[20]             CCLP 2011 report.

[21]             Musto. Personal communication, June 29, 2012.

[22]             Musto. Field notes, 2012.

[23]             Musto. Personal communication, June 27, 2012.

[24]             Musto. Personal communication, June 29, 2012.

[25]             Elliott, A. & Urry, J. (2010) Mobile Lives, New York, NY: Routledge.

[26]             Smoking Gun (April 13, 2012) “Federal Agents Arrest Twitter Pimp for Sex Trafficking of Child,” The Smoking Gun.  Available at www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/twitter-pimp-arrested-758490.

[27]             Doost, A. (February 28, 2011) “Human trafficking arrests made in North Texas,” CBS DFW. Retrieved from dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/02/28/human-trafficking-arrests-made-in-north-texas.

[28]             McMahon, P. (August 6, 2012) “Feds: Broward man recruited girl on Facebook, prostituted her,” Sun Sentinel . Retrieved from articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-08-06/news/fl-broward-child-prostitution-20120806_1_prostitution-fbi-agents-broward-man.

[29]             Musto. Personal communication, June 29, 2012.

[30]             Cunningham & Kendall (2009).

[31]             Musto. Personal communication, June 29, 2012.

[32]             Kravets, D. (September 28, 2011) “Secret memo reveals which telecoms store your data the longest,” Ars Technica. Available at

arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/09/secret-memo-reveals-which-telecoms-store-your-data-the-longest.

[33]             Musto. Personal communication, July 11, 2012.

[34]             Musto. Personal communication, July 9, 2012.

[35]             Musto. Field notes, 2012.

[36]             Gallagher, A. & Holmes, P. (2008) “Developing an Effective Criminal Justice Response to Human Trafficking: Lessons From the Front Line,” International Criminal Justice Review 18: 318–43. See also, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2004) Legislative Guides for the Implementation of United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols Thereto, Vienna, Austria.

[37]             Musto. Personal communication, June 29, 2012.

[38]             Musto. Personal communication, June 11, 2012.