Digital Dangers: Information & Communication Technologies and Trafficking in Women

5 September 2005

By Kathleen Maltzahn

This discussion paper asks if new technologies are re-shaping or facilitating trafficking, and/or if the use of ICTs in trafficking will change the way we understand other issues. The paper is a joint publication of AWID and the APC WNSP.

The first section of this paper lays the foundations for discussing ICTs and trafficking and defines these terms. The examples were provided by activists and advocates around the world who are working on trafficking or ICTs or on both issues.

The paper then goes on to explore three pivotal and at times controversial questions in relation to the role of ICTs and trafficking. Does the role of ICTs matter or is it a fashionable distraction from serious countertrafficking work? Can we talk of trafficking in images or does trafficking only apply to people? Is consideration of privacy in relation to ICTs contrary to counter-trafficking work or an essential part of a broader movement to create safety and freedom for individuals and communities?

Finally, the paper asks what action can and is being taken, by governments, feminists, NGOs, and other actors.

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