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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The geographies and complexities of online networks in the off-street sex market
Author(s): Kjellgren, Richard
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Keywords: Criminal networks
human trafficking
online spaces
open-source intelligence
organised crime
Issue Date: 15-Apr-2024
Date Deposited: 22-May-2024
Citation: Kjellgren R (2024) The geographies and complexities of online networks in the off-street sex market. <i>Criminology & Criminal Justice</i>.
Abstract: Exploitation and human trafficking in sex markets tend to include both online and offline spaces. Understanding the scale, complexity and geography of networks is important in policing human trafficking and online escort adverts are often used to identify organised crime in this context. This article aims to make a methodological contribution to how data relating to online networks in the sex market can be collected and analysed. Through the application of web scraping, social network analysis and principal component analysis, the digital traces of 15,016 online networks operating on an adult services website were analysed in relation to their complexity and geographical patterning. The findings suggest that structural and geographical characteristics are useful for understanding the heterogeneity of online networks. Analysing networks, as opposed to assessing escort adverts, offers a more robust approach to understanding the sex market, which is more sensitive to the continuum of experiences encapsulated therein.
DOI Link: 10.1177/17488958241245287
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