Internet Sex Trafficking: Will the Monster Stop Growing?


Maureen Guirguis (Kenny), JD | September 20 | 1:30-2:30 PM

Topic: Conceptual, Legal | Knowledge Level: Intermediate

This presentation will discuss two main issues involving the internet/social media and sex trafficking: (1) recruitment of victims on the internet; and (2) selling victims on the internet. Traffickers are increasingly using Facebook and social media apps to reach out to victims and lure them into the sex trade. Maureen will discuss recent cases and evaluate potential legal and other means that can be utilized to counteract this growing trend. She has done extensive case research on civil and criminal cases involving Backpage and other internet service providers. Traffickers and pimps use Backpage and other internet sites to sell children and women for sex. The presentation will examine ways that traffickers and internet sites are working together to profit off the exploitation of sex-trafficking victims. Maureen will then discuss recent legal, technological, and educational approaches to curbing the tide of sex-trafficking online. This presenter will draw from the federal bills that were introduced and the legislation that was passed in this area, from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee’s Report on Backpage and on other reports drafted on this topic, and from some news accounts of recent activities regarding internet service providers such as Backpage.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Outline the growing problem of traffickers' using social media and the internet to recruit and advertise sex-trafficking victims.

·  Depict recent cases involving social media and the internet and explain the complexities involved.

·  Examine recent legislative approaches to addressing this issue and whether the laws will curb the tide of sex-trafficking.

·  Discuss potential solutions to the growing issue of internet sex-trafficking.

About the Presenter