Polygamy in Human Trafficking Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

What questions should you ask the woman to assist you with your investigations?

1. Do you have a good relationship with your husband? Are you in talking terms as of this moment?

2. Is the laptop in your possession right now? If not, where is it?

3. What is the location of your husband as of this moment? Does he know where you are right now?

4. Before you saw what you saw last night, do you, as his partner, have any reason to suspect that he has been viewing the same kind of content for a while?

What do you need legally to seize that laptop?

For one to be successfully prosecuted of the crime of child pornography, he or she must have knowingly received, distributed or possessed child pornography. So there must be intent on his or her part. In case a person, such as the complainant’s husband, just happened to have stumbled upon the content the wife allegedly caught him watching, he cannot be prosecuted and convicted for the crime of child pornography. However, in case a person is caught with hundreds or thousands of child pornography videos or images on his computer, the intent becomes pretty obvious and the prosecution of the case becomes straightforward (Bector, 2009; Milivojevic, Pickering & Segrave, 2017). For this reason, investigators usually seize computers and computer components owned by suspects to find clues and evidence as to whether they were intentionally and knowingly participating in, distributing, or consuming child pornography.

Some of the computers and computer components that are usually seized by investigators include laptops, CPUs, external data storage devices, hard disks, event logs, buddy lists, chat logs, internet browsing history, financial information, databases, emails and related attachments, image files, video files, documents, software, and hardware (Moore, 2014). So in the case of the complainant’s husband, his laptop ought to be seized to find out if there is evidence of intent on it.

Besides his laptop, connected and networked devices should also be seized or looked into to also gather evidence for prosecution. Connected/ networked devices include routers, switches, hubs, printers, and so on. The evidence that can be gathered from such devices include data, buddy lists, chat logs, event logs, log files, internet browsing history, financial information, databases, emails, attachments, image files, video files, and software. Other evidence that may also be collected from such devices includes the NIC (network interface card) address, the MAC (media access card) address, broadcast settings, IP (Internet Protocol) address, and the LAN (Local area network) address. These pieces of information are considered identifying information and can be utilized as evidence (Moore, 2014).

To acquire all or most of the above pieces of evidence, there are several methods that could be used. They include:

1. Plain view

If a laptop, a software, a hardware, or a computer is in plain view, there is no need for a warrant for it to be seized. This is the plain view exception. However, once it is seized, it cannot be searched as the plain view exception does not include the authority to search.

2. Consent

The second method to acquire evidence is to ask for consent from its owners. In this case, the complainant and her husband are joint owners of the evidence that needs to be seized. So the laptop can only be seized if both parties give their consent. However, consent cannot just be sought verbally; it needs to be obtained in writing. And the request for it should…

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…Hardware dependency: In case the hardware is old generation and cannot be read by newer generation systems, it may be unwise to remove the storage devices.

d. Laptop systems: Some laptop system drives may not be accessible or usable when removed from their original hardware systems. So it is key to check if they are readable before removing them.

e. Redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID): Removing storage disks and acquiring data from them separately may result in confusing or unusable results.

· Make sure that the examiner’s storage device is clean (forensic-wise) before using to acquire data evidence.

In general, as a law enforcement officer, one needs to use maximum caution when seizing digital evidence. Seizing such evidence improperly or poorly handling such evidence could damage or alter the evidence. In other cases, poor handling or seizing of evidence could itself constitute a crime under the 1980 Privacy Protection Act and the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (Computer Crime and Intellectual Property, 2009; U.S. Department of Justice, n.d). In some cases, before seizing or accessing some digital evidence, law enforcement officers may need to seek extra legal authority. In such cases or in cases where a law enforcement officer is unsure about the law, there is a need to consult with superiors and with the prosecuting attorney. Their guidance will ensure that the officer is within the law and that they have the authority to proceed with the investigations in the manner they wish to proceed.

Additionally, poor handling electronic evidence could damage it as mentioned before. So there is a need to carefully handle the evidence found. Some of the precautions that can be taken to seize, preserve and transport electronic evidence without altering or destroying it include:

· Recognizing, identifying,…

Sources Used in Document:


Bector, S. (2009). Your laptop, please: The search and seizure of electronic devices at the United States border. Berkeley Tech. LJ, 24, 695.

Moore, R. (2014). Cybercrime: Investigating high-technology computer crime. Routledge.

U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, (n.d). Forensic Examination of Digital Evidence: A Guide for Law Enforcement. National Institute of Justice.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, (n.d). Best Practices for seizing electronic evidence. United States Secrete service.

Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section Criminal Division, (2009). Searching and Seizing Computers and Obtaining Electronic Evidence in Criminal Investigations. Office of Legal Education Executive Office for United States Attorneys.

Milivojevic, S., Pickering, S., & Segrave, M. (2017). Sex Trafficking and Modern Slavery: The Absence of Evidence. Routledge.

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