Friday, December 14, 2007

Don't Believe the Hype?

Social Networking Sites Used for Human Trafficking



A friend pointed out to me:

This article seemed really fishy to me, so i looked into the publication. It turns out the Edmonton Sun is a tabloid, a pretty typical (i.e., trashy) one as far as I can tell except that it also has a blatantly conservative/reactionary ideological bias. I'd be skeptical of anything this paper publishes. In the case of this article, furthermore, the portrayal of online networking sites as dangerous breeding grounds for criminal perversion might as well have come out of Bill O'Reilly.

*Thanks Noah, now read on with a grain of salt...

From the Edmonton Sun:

City cops are investigating two suspected human-trafficking rings believed to be part of an international network that enslaves hundreds of young Albertans each year, many of whom are forced into the sex trade in Las Vegas.


Staff Sgt. Kevin Galvin, head of the Edmonton police organized crime and gang units, said because the investigations are still underway, he wouldn’t give specific details.


He said that while human-trafficking “criminal enterprises” have operated in Western Canada for at least 20 years – and for decades longer in central Canada – they’re more sophisticated than ever before.


They do most of their recruiting on social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace, choosing na├»ve or vulnerable victims for “grooming” who are right around 18 years old in order to avoid detection by authorities looking for predators after underage kids.


Asked how many young Albertans are caught up in this web each year, Galvin replied simply, “hundreds.” Most are women, he said, but young men are also targets. Galvin said that typically, a man will develop an online relationship with the victim, selling himself as a glamorous high roller.


Once he’s begun to reel in the victim, he makes a date to meet her. A whirlwind romance follows. “She gets the red carpet treatment,” Galvin explained, “Limos, expensive restaurants, VIP rooms at night clubs.


Everything mirrors the pop culture ideal of good times. These guys can read the girls really well. She thinks he’s her boyfriend.” After four or five dizzyingly spectacular dates, the predator will invite her to a private party...

Read the full article

2 comments:

  1. justin-

    i follow this blog with interest, and i think what you're doing is great. that said, this article seemed really fishy to me, so i looked into the publication. it turns out the Edmonton Sun is a tabloid, a pretty typical (i.e., trashy) one as far as I can tell except that it also has a blatantly conservative/reactionary ideological bias. i'd be skeptical of anything this paper publishes. in the case of this article, furthermore, the portrayal of online networking sites as dangerous breeding grounds for criminal perversion might as well have come out of Bill O'Reilly. I hope you will remove and/or contextualize this so as not to multiply the effect of this so-called news.

    -Noah

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous4:50 PM

    interesting... it's true the Edmonton Sun is not our most reputable paper, however, the information seems pretty accurate. In addition, the Sun is part of a national chain of papers, with many Sun reporters doing amazing work on human trafficking. See Tamara Cherry's series on trafficking published in the Toronto Sun and syndicated across the country. She has done amazing work on this issue and has brought the rights of survivors of trafficking to the forefront through her work for the Toronto Sun.
    I coordinate ACT Alberta, which is a provincial coalition concerned with identifying and responding to human trafficking in Alberta and the use of networking sites for trafficking is not unheard of here (or anywhere, for that matter). Jessie Foster's case, as referenced in the Edmonton Sun article, has been referenced on many occasions.

    We appreciate any opportunity for awareness and dialogue on human trafficking. While the article may not have been perfect, it did accomplish that.

    ReplyDelete