Human trafficking: sinking in the advantage of the Internet


With the Internet, everything seems to be easier for us than ever. Only a ‘click’, a new world comes. The Internet brings advantages into people life leading a convenient and colorful daily routine. However, the Internet is the ‘iceberg’ to our life while we are the Titanic. As the Titanic boat, which is famous for its sinking because of an ‘iceberg’, we are facing our own ‘iceberg’ too (Brown 2011). Based on the ‘principle of Iceberg’, Ernest Hemingway defines that iceberg has one-eighth of its floating on the surface when the other seven-eighth sinking under water (Wood 2009). It means that we can just ‘see’ a small part of the Internet as an effective tool. However, the sink part of that Internet ‘iceberg’ maintains a whole different side of the Internet – the danger ones.

The strong evidence for this concept is the human trafficking. In many years, the human trafficking as a ‘modern form of slavery’ is a significant problem of the society (Hagopian 2014). In 2010, there were approximately 12 million slaves around the world (Caseact 2012). The number of these slaves keeps increasing without a break. There are many projects and programs run to prevent this problem. However, this problem becomes more serious because of the complexity and uncontrollable methods of the traffickers based on the Internet through various forms, including websites and chat rooms (Westcott 2013).

Figure 1. This is a screen from a normal chat room (Reproduced from Markga 2009).

Figure 1. This is a screen from a normal chat room (Reproduced from Markga 2009).

Figure 2. An example of how attackers make friend with their victim (Reproduced from Naperville 2013).

Figure 2. An example of how attackers make friend with their victim (Reproduced from Naperville 2013).

As I mentioned before, the Internet is the ‘iceberg’ of our life. Although the Internet brings advantages and new things to us, it also contains dangerous. The traffickers take advantage of these benefits from the Internet into their tool to approach the targets (Sykiotou 2007).

The Internet becomes popular because of its feature in connecting and communication. We just need to sit in front of a computer or mobile devices connected to the Internet and then communicating with other peoples or have a new friend easily (Cyberethics 2011). With this advantage, the traffickers can easily to connect or make friends with their victims or even finding clients or suppliers (Sykiotou 2007).

Figure 3. A request for add new friend, who could be the human traffickers (Reproduced from Daily Dot 2014).

Figure 3. A request for add new friend, who could be the human traffickers (Reproduced from Daily Dot 2014).

Furthermore, the human trafficking business is still growing fast and fast because it has unlimited sources – the ‘virtual communities’ – where people gather together and communicate. Maybe, one of your virtual group friends could be a trafficker! Maybe!

Moreover, the traffickers also can expand their business based on the ‘anonymous’ feature (UN.GIFT 2008). Anonymity is defined that the real owner or author of a message ‘is not shown’ (Palme and Berglund 2004). This creates an advantage of protecting the traffickers identity so that polices or government cannot track or commit their crimes (Sykiotou 2007). With the ‘anonymity’, the traffickers can be anyone, even your best friend, with just a little information about them. This personal information also can be false! This is a significant benefit of the Internet for the human trafficking business.

Another advantage of the Internet for society is its cheap fee. With the low fee, anyone can access to the Internet, even the traffickers. This is a great opportunity for the human trafficking business because the investment in Internet is much cheaper than others method but also brings high profit (Sykiotou 2007).

The floating part of the Internet ‘iceberg’ tricks what we ‘see’ the Internet as an amazing place. Actually, it is! But, some people take advantages of Internet to do their bad things. All of these advantages of the Internet become danger in life, which leads to the ‘cybercrime’. In conclusion, although the Internet brings amazing things to our life, we need to be careful with the sinking part of it.

Andrea Powell talking about how the traffickers target the victim online (Adopted from CNN 2013).

Follow the story of a survivor in Cambodia (Adopted from Water Brook 2009).

Word count: 594.


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Cyberethics 2011, ‘Benefits of Internet Use’, Cyber Ethics, viewed 6 August 2014, <>.

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Markga 2009, ‘What is Group Chat Server in OCS R2?’, image, Technet, 10th April, viewed 7 August 2014, <>.

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UN.GIFT 2008, ‘017 Workshop: Technology and Human Trafficking’, The Vienna Forum to fight Human Trafficking, UNODC, 13 – 15th February, viewed 4 August 2014, <>.

Water Brook 2009, ‘One woman’s story of the horrors of human trafficking’, image, Youtube, 21st September, viewed 7 August 2014, <>.

Westcott, L 2013, ‘Human trafficking investigators play catchup as criminals go hi-tech’, The Guardian, 29th July, viewed 4 August 2014, <>.

Wood, DD 2009, ‘The Other Seven-Eighths of the Iceberg: Peering Beneath the Surface of Ernest Hemingway’s Six-Word Story’, Philament ABSENCE, Academia, viewed 4 September 2013, <>.