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Follow the Money, Find the Crime

Posted by JP Redding on February 2, 2022
JP Redding

Human trafficking encompasses a set of horrific and egregious crimes plaguing our world and destroying individuals and their families. These criminals use innovative and ever-changing methods to hide their activities and keep their victims silent, making their crimes difficult to detect and their identities challenging to discover. However, the same financial motivation that pushes individuals to commit these crimes can be their undoing when law enforcement has access to the most up-to-date digital forensics software, is able to locate the bank accounts and exact transactions involved in illegal activities.


Digital and cyber forensics has always been crucial in stopping human trafficking. Being able to locate messages, using AI machine learning to identify the ages of victims in photos, and finding trends in web activity on seized computers and smartphones has been implemented already. The next step in digital forensics to curb the tide of trafficking is to find where the money is going and who is involved. 


To collect money and payment for these activities, a sophisticated level of money laundering and low-profile electronic transfers are involved to prevent detection by normal auditing systems. But by combining experienced detective work and top-of-the-line digital intelligence tools, you are able to see what the expected income from a suspect should be and how much they are actually spending or exchanging between known associates. By comparing these expense and income trails from seized devices, you can better understand not just who is being involved but where the victims are being held or smuggled. 

Using the analysis capabilities of digital forensics tools, like our Digital Evidence Investigator (DEI),  we can help you determine where the money originated from and where it ended up. It also can recognize financial patterns that a normal person would not be able to see, or would need an exorbitant amount of time to compile by hand. Our tool is also able to identify new forms of anonymous buying or selling, like cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, has no definite ownership and does not transfer between accounts like typical currency through a bank. DEI, and all of our other ADF tools, can identify the currency by finding artifacts on a device and can identify what cryptocurrency was used.

Learn more about ATII and Human Trafficking

Topics: Digital Evidence Investigator, Financial Crime, Human Trafficking

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