Improving the International Regulation of Cybersex Trafficking of Women and Children through the Use of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence
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Today, perpetrators of human trafficking for sexual exploitation are using cyberspace to recruit, advertise and exercise control over women and children, who are intrinsically more vulnerable to this crime. The Internet and mobile phone technology have indeed provided an avenue to facilitate considerably the trafficking process. Yet, no regulation is directly addressing the nexus between sexual exploitation and these digital tools. In addition to affirming the necessity to do so, researchers have, although more rarely, investigated the non-legislative path formed by partnerships between governments, civil organizations and private companies aiming to fight cybersex trafficking. This thesis intends to confront the main technologies used in trafficking networks with the legislation in force at the international and regional levels, and to question the opportunities that data analytics and artificial intelligence provide to combat this increasingly sophisticated crime. Through a legal, gender, and technology-focused perspective, it will emphasize the need to carefully examine practical and ethical issues, as well as the privacy and security concerns raised by tools mobilizing these two types of technology. On the one hand, it will confirm that there is a need, alongside the international and regional privacy legislative framework, to regulate the use of data analytics and AI techniques in a way that takes the specificity of cybersex trafficking into account. On the other hand, it will emphasize the compelling necessity to ensure the implementation of a gender-sensitive and interdisciplinary approach in these ICTs-supported anti-trafficking efforts.