Date of Award
Honors Program Director
As people around the world increasingly migrate online to open communication, share information, and exchange money, goods, and services, the extensive power and possibilities offered by the Internet have never been more apparent. While enriching many lives in unprecedented ways, the Internet has also introduced new opportunities for harmful practices such as seen within the realm of modern slavery, and particularly within the sex trafficking industry. The goals of this thesis are to understand the ways in which traffickers utilize the Internet to recruit women and girls for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and to explore the vital role of technologists in creating safer online spaces. Social media platforms, employment opportunity pages, and the deep Web are areas of vital importance in these considerations, and they will be given particular attention here. The Internet has played a role in entrapping many of the tens of millions of people currently enslaved around the globe, but it is also providing the framework to recover victims as well as identify responsible parties. This thesis will analyze the online recruitment of women and girls into the sex trafficking industry to allow for a clearer understanding of the dangers and possibilities that technology has introduced, with the hopes of contributing to the larger humanitarian goals of combatting human trafficking and creating safer and more mindful software products and systems.
Tidwell, Ruby, "Caught in the Web: The Importance of Ethical Computing Illustrated via an Exploration of the Online Recruitment of Women and Girls into Sex Trafficking" (2016). Honors Senior Theses/Projects. 111.