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Crypto-drug markets

Professor Nuria Lorenzo-Dus, Personal Chair in the Department of Applied Linguistics, has used CHERISH-DE funding to further her research into cyber security.

Nuria was part of the first cohort of successful escalator bids with the “Trust in Crypto-drug markets” project. The research, which was conducted in collaboration with the Global Drug Policy Observatory at Swansea University, pioneered systematic analysis of all the forums content generated by members of the flagship crypto-drug market ‘Silk Road’, revealing the linguistic mechanisms they used to develop trust amongst its user community. These results contribute to policy makers’ attempts at regulating criminality within crypto-markets and have been presented, amongst others, to the UN at Geneva.

Nuria’s crypto-drug markets project is embedded within a broader research programme that analyses communicative (language / images) tactics used for manipulation and the abuse of trust in cyber contexts marked by criminality. This research is designed to both identify perpetrators and to develop resilience-building measures. Of particular note within this work thus far is her ongoing analysis of predator tactics used in online child sexual abuse. 

Capitalising upon CHERISH-DE funding, Nuria now leads collaborative projects with NSPCC Cymru/Wales, including the development of an anti-online child sexual grooming activity pack: Stop TIME Online. This activity pack is tailored to the practice-based needs of professionals working with children and young people.