5 Ways Technology Can Be Used to Combat Human Trafficking

How Experts Use Technology To Fight Against Human Trafficking

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Analyzing Online Data
  • Free Hotlines
  • Platforms to Report Crime
  • Image Identification

In order to combat human trafficking, technology is often used to identify and track individuals who are tied to suspicious activities. This involves a lot of resources that would be impossible to leverage without advanced innovation. So, what are some of the most common ways in which technology battles this crime?

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Artificial Intelligence

As one of the latest offsprings of modernization, artificial intelligence (AI )has proved itself worthy of all the praise due to its seemingly limitless abilities. Besides the fact that it can recognize and process large data fast, it can learn to think for itself and pin-point patterns that are important for distinguishing crimes. For instance, by relying on years of historical, thus factual, information, AI is able to recognize things that no other human could ever see with their naked eye. Not to mention that the amount of work that AI does is unparalleled by anything that any human could do during their entire lifetime.

Analyzing Online Data

Although this may seem somewhat similar to AI, it is not. In fact, analyzing online data actually pertains to tools such as “Spotlight.” According to Forbes, this resource was introduced by “Thorn: Digital Defenders” approximately five years ago. Since then, it has been put to use to analyze online spheres for sex advertisements. The objective is to gain insight into the advertisements and try and find the parties responsible for them. Courtesy of Spotlight, the authorities have been able to almost half their search time used to locate the perpetrators based on their online postings.

Free Hotlines

A great technological tool used in human trafficking relates to a resource that is not exactly built to work as a preventative measure. Free hotlines are available 24 hours a day and they were created to give the victims of human trafficking an outlet to discuss problems or traumas caused by the tragic events from their past. That way, they can have some assistance as they get accustomed to society again and re-learn how to trust those around them. Of course, people are always welcome to use these lines to report any suspected human trafficking.

Platforms to Report Crime

Although hotlines can be used to report trafficking crimes, this is not what their primary purpose is. The technology has actually allowed experts who operate in this sphere to create multiple platforms that were solely built to send in anonymous tips about potential crimes related to human trafficking. A great example would be the Cyber Tipline developed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children back in 1998. As per the aforementioned Forbes write-up, the 21-year period since its inception has seen this line get used more than 4.3 million times.

Image Identification

Finally, a combination of AI and some facial recognition is often put to use when it comes to battling human trafficking. How? Well, technology software that is normally used to simply catch faces on a camera can easily be reprogrammed to cross-reference faces from prior mug shots or existing records. That way, someone who is known to be involved with human trafficking could be recognized through various forms of cameras. This will then allow the authorities to narrow their search as they look for the perpertrator/(s) in a smaller region.

Another important tool includes software built to store enormous data that can be accessed by law enforcement agencies from all over the world. So, it is safe to say that technology comes in extremely handy when one is trying to break down any human trafficking operation.