Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Identifying human trafficking indicators in the UK online sex market

Giommoni, Luca ORCID: and Ikwu, Ruth 2021. Identifying human trafficking indicators in the UK online sex market. Trends in Organized Crime 10.1007/s12117-021-09431-0

[thumbnail of Giommoni-Ikwu2021_Article_IdentifyingHumanTraffickingInd.pdf] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB)


This study identifes the presence of human trafcking indicators in a UK-based sample of sex workers who advertise their services online. To this end, we developed a crawling and scraping software that enabled the collection of information from 17, 362 advertisements for female sex workers posted on the largest dedicated platform for sex work services in the UK. We then established a set of 10 indicators of human trafcking and a transparent and replicable methodology through which to detect their presence in our sample. Most of the advertisements (58.3%) contained only one indicator, while 3,694 of the advertisements (21.3%) presented 2 indicators of human trafcking. Only 1.7% of the advertisements reported three or more indicators, while there were no advertisements that featured more than four. 3, 255 advertisements (19.0%) did not contain any indicators of human trafcking. Based on this analysis, we propose that this approach constitutes an efective screening process for quickly identifying suspicious cases, which can then be examined by more comprehensive and accurate tools to identify if human trafcking is occurring. We conclude by calling for more empirical research into human trafcking indicators.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 1084-4791
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 September 2021
Date of Acceptance: 25 August 2021
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 18:42

Citation Data

Cited 1 time in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics