How the ‘dark web’ worsens Ghana’s human trafficking crisis

Source: Ghana | | Zaina Adamu | Twitter: @ZainaAdamu
Date: 18-09-2018
Thorn, a non-profit organization focused on eradicating child sex abuse revealed that more than half (63%) of participants in a survey said they were sold online.

Human trafficking in Ghana has grown exponentially over the course of several decades – so much so that it has been noted and reported to nations across the world. According to the United States Department of State, which has created a “watch list” to monitor trafficking in Ghana, “the exploitation of Ghanaians, particularly children, within the country is more prevalent than the transnational trafficking of foreign nationals.”

Even more harrowing is another factor facilitating trafficking: the Internet. The Eban Centre for Human Trafficking Studies (ECHTS) has concluded that numerous online platforms have been created for the recruitment and selling of Ghanaians. Advancements in technology, according to ECHTS, has made it almost impossible to track down perpetrators.

“The Dark Web, a fast-evolving frontier of Human Trafficking activities in Ghana and neighbouring West African Countries, nearly guarantees anonymity to its users through the use of multi-layered encryption technology,” said Chris Mensah-Ankrah, a director of research and development at ECHTS. “At each layer, the user’s internet protocol address, the identifying address of a computer, is encrypted and passed to another volunteer server to create the next layer.”

Mensah-Ankrah further explained that because of the complexities of cyber route processes, users typically never know who exactly they are communicating with. Websites like Backpage, Craigslist and Facebook lure users to easily access the services of escorts and prostitutes, using false names and photos to hide underage exploitation.


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