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How AI Is Helping Law Enforcement Combat Human Trafficking

Posted by Aly Franklin on January 25, 2023

Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems. AI systems are given vast amounts of training data that will be analyzed for correlations and patterns [1]. Once the AI system analyzes these patterns it can make predictions about future states. Machine learning computer algorithms aid AI in learning to work with a large amount of data. Machine learning data and algorithms will continue to gradually improve their accuracy over time. AI systems that use machine learning take data quickly to produce actionable information. It can trace relationships between data points that may be too complex for the human mind to identify. 

Artificial intelligence machine learning has opened many doors for law enforcement involved in human trafficking investigations. The University of Nottingham conducted a study to show the potential use of machine learning. They effectively mapped labor abuses in the Brick Belt, an area of land extending across Pakistan, northern India, Nepal, and Bangladesh [2]. The Brick Belt is known to be a location of extreme labor exploitation. With artificial intelligence researchers were able to train the program to recognize sizes, shapes, and shadows normally associated with brick kilns.

This is just one example of artificial intelligence and its use for human trafficking. Human trafficking is a $150 billion-per-year criminal industry [3]. Often law enforcement agencies attempt to follow the money as a lead to human trafficking suspects. In 2016 a national non-profit had researchers launch an app that was named Hotels-50k. This app was designed to use AI to match up a data set of 50,000 pictures with online advertisements placed by sex traffickers and their victims [4]. How AI Is Helping Law Enforcement Combat Human Trafficking (1)

Additional researchers developed an artificial intelligence engine that could help reveal the location of sex trafficking victims. The AI system identifies hotels based on a database containing approximately one million images of thousands of hotels from around the world. Images of victims are compared to those contained in the database to pick out the location of the hotel room shown in the image. This AI system uses furniture, color schemes, wall art, and bedding to help identify the hotel [4]. 

The AI engine Traffic Jam uses facial recognition and geospatial software to identify runaways and missing people advertised online [4]. The apps mentioned and the development of many others are major tools in helping law enforcement officers find and save human trafficking victims. Civilians with these apps on their smartphones help to collect more and more data to be fed into this machine learning. Investigators can then use AI to filter through the data collected by civilians.  

The use of AI in digital forensics gives law enforcement officers the power to filter through images and videos found on mobiles or computer devices at a faster rate. AI in digital forensics can be tailored to identify images containing people, drugs, weapons, and more. With this powerful addition to their digital forensics toolbox, they have a better chance of helping their victims. Artificial intelligence and machine learning help take the fight against human trafficking to a global level where agencies around the world can work together.

Suspect Technologies facial analytic capabilities coupled with ADF’s automated investigation tools enable investigators to quickly review images

Suspect Technologies age detection and grouping capabilities are now standard in the Digital Evidence Investigator PRO Field Tablet, the Mobile Device Investigator Field Tablet, and across the ADF Solutions platform of triage and digital forensics software tools.

ADF’s suite of tools provides law enforcement officers with the features they need to speed up their digital investigations with Mobile Device Forensics, Computer Forensics, or All in One Forensics (mobile and computer forensics combined). ADF's suite of triage and digital forensic software support face recognition for age detection. Field investigators and lab examiners can use this to help speed the identification of individuals by grouping faces into categories such as infants, toddlers, children, and adults. 

Learn more about ADF’s Suite of tools and how they can assist law enforcement with human trafficking investigations.  

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Topics: Law Enforcement, Human Trafficking, Artificial Intelligence

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