How bad actors are using tech platforms to sexually exploit, traffic Ukrainian women
A woman wrapped in a Ukrainian flag holds flowers during the memorial service of activist and soldier Roman Ratushnyi in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, June 18, 2022. Ratushnyi died in a battle near Izyum, where Russian and Ukrainian troops are fighting for control of the area.
Bad actors are leveraging social media groups and communications apps to sexually exploit and traffic Ukrainians seeking shelter and information, amplifying concerns about those dangers in an already high-risk region.
As the war continues and millions of Ukrainians, especially women and children, transition to border nations, potential traffickers are using the same digital spaces where refugees are looking for assistance to spread misinformation or pose as well-meaning volunteers to house those fleeing the conflict. Experts say tech companies could be doing more to protect Ukrainians from those threats amid an apparent rise in demand for trafficking victims from the besieged country.
“I find it really heartbreaking that at the moment when so many people are trying to protect vulnerable women and children, one of the first measurable reactions to the crisis was that men were going online in record breaking numbers trying to figure out how to sexually access those women,” said Val Richey, special representative and coordinator for combating trafficking in human beings at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Data on upticks in human trafficking of Ukrainian women are only starting to emerge since Russia invaded four months ago. But a Thomson Reuters analysis found spikes across Europe for terms related to online demand for sex with Ukrainian women as news about the war spread across Europe.
The analysis found a 200 percent increase in Google searches for “Ukrainian escorts” in the United Kingdom between Feb. 27 and March 5 compared to the prior six months. The term “Ukrainian porn” increased 600 percent in Spain and 130 percent in Poland over the same period.
“European women, Eastern European woman, Ukrainian women, are already at risk, and often are lured and groomed and recruited into sex trafficking. So you put crisis on top of that, and now you have a recipe for increased spikes of demand for human trafficking,” said Heather C. Fischer, senior adviser for human rights crimes at Thomson Reuters.
For example, of 38 men arrested for buying sex in Sweden in March as part of a police operation, investigators found 30 were specifically trying to access Ukrainian women, Sweden’s state-controlled television station reported. In Ireland, an escort service website advertised access to Ukrainian escorts, according to screenshots provided by Thomson Reuters.
“It’s just really unfortunate as globally people are wondering how they can rush headlong to supporting some of the most vulnerable people, there was a pocket of society who are asking the opposite question, which is, ‘How can I exploit women and children coming from Ukraine?’ So that’s very alarming for us,” Fischer said.
In the earlier days of the war, traffickers would pose physically at the border as volunteers seeking to give refugees rides or safe shelter. But as those activities were acknowledged and policy and volunteer groups began looking out for traffickers, those groups moved to a “much more aggressive” online presence, said Erol Yayboke, director and senior fellow with the International Security Program and director of the Project on Fragility and Mobility at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
Diana Shore, the administrator of the volunteer Facebook group Rooms for Ukrainians in the UK, ran into the obstacle of possible traffickers and trolls after launching the page to connect Ukrainians with housing in the U.K. in early March.
Just nine days after launching her page, the U.K. government offered visa options to allow volunteers to open their homes to Ukrainian refugees, and action on the page “skyrocketed,” she said. Currently, the private group has more than 29,000 members.
Resources like Shore’s page are key to not only matching refugees with volunteers, but also providing information. Informal networks including Facebook groups, Telegram chats and Viber chats remain the main source of information for fleeing Ukrainians about their options as refugees, according to an assessment published by VOICE and HIAS that included interviews with women forcibly leaving Ukraine.
“You know that the person is verified and you know their location, so it can’t be somebody posing to be a Ukrainian guest who’s actually living in Russia, or somebody who’s saying they’ve got a house in Manchester whose actual location is Saudi Arabia,” she added.
Group administrators notice “red flags” from certain accounts, she said, including ones that target lone young women or seem “too good to be true,” describing themselves either as a “wealthy family” or offering access to an “elite life” with “work available in return.”
#2: Prepare Visuals to Accompany Your Content
Visuals are the key to engaging your audience on social media because people are more likely to engage with visual content. A Buffer analysis found that tweets with images get 150% more retweets, 89% more favourites, and 18% more clicks than those without images.
And these numbers aren’t just limited to Twitter. A BuzzSumo analysis of 100 million articles also found that articles with images get a lot more shares on Facebook as well. What this means is that if you want to drive more social media traffic, you need to accompany your posts with relevant images that will attract your audience and compel them to share.
You could create original graphics using platforms like Canva . There are tons of existing templates that you can customise with graphs and elements to create original graphics. In addition to your own social media posts, make sure that your articles have eye-catching thumbnails when people share them on social media.
#4: Catch Your Audience When They’re Most Active
The more people who engage with your social media posts, the more visible your content will be. And the more visible your content is, the better your chances of driving clicks and traffic. That’s why it’s crucial to publish your posts when your audience is most likely to engage with them.
This means finding out when your followers are most active, when you get the most engagements, etc. You’ll need to analyse your post performance at different times of the day and on different days to get an idea of this.
Start by getting a general idea of the best times to post, according to reputable studies. Sprout Social , for instance, found that Wednesday is the best day to post across all social media platforms. Sunday, on the other hand, sees the least engagement across all platforms. You could test all of these different days and times out to see what works best for your audience.
LinkedIn Statistics 2022
LinkedIn as a social platform offers a different perspective on social media, which is why it has become an integral tool today for job seekers, recruiters, businesses, and professionals. Whether you are new to LinkedIn or have been there since the start of the social media snowstorm, you will be surprised by the scope and reach of the platform. Here are some statistics that will help you know the professional potential of LinkedIn as a social platform.
- In October 2021, Marketers reached almost 790.4 million users with LinkedIn ads. This number roughly increased by 22 million (+2.9%) in the last three months.
- LinkedIn owns more than 800 million active users in 200 countries and regions worldwide. are aged between 25 and 34 years.
- For B2B businesses, LinkedIn is the top paid and organic social channel. find the greatest success on LinkedIn.
- Almost 46% of social media traffic to a company’s website comes from LinkedIn.
- Roughly 10% of all the people on Earth hold a LinkedIn account today.
- Around the world, 14.3% of all people aged 18 years and above have a LinkedIn account today.
- LinkedIn’s advertising audience reach has grown by 8.8% over the past 12 months.
- Every week, 45 million people use LinkedIn to search for jobs.
- Every minute, 4 people are hired on LinkedIn.
- 77 job applications are submitted every second, and 200+ million job applications are submitted every month on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Statistics By Age
LinkedIn Statistics By Gender
LinkedIn Statistics By Age And Gender
LinkedIn Users By Country
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