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How Border Agents Use Technology to Fight Human Trafficking

Posted by Aly Franklin on January 11, 2023

U.S. Customs and Border Protection works within the Department of Homeland Security to manage, control, and protect borders at and between ports of entry. One of the many tasks of Border Patrol agents is their role in the fight against human trafficking. Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act was signed into law in 2000, initiating the fight against national human trafficking [1]. 

Border enforcement uses human trafficking technology as an anti-trafficking method. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate supports border enforcement with technology to improve its tactics in the detection and interception of human trafficking activity. 

1. Child Exploitation Image Analytics (CHEXIA) helps to reduce the amount of time it takes to identify and rescue children from exploitation and identify suspects with automated face recognition algorithms and forensic tools [2].
  • The algorithm was designed to correctly detect and recognize child’s faces in any seized child exploitation images.
  • Face recognition algorithms (AFR) are also integrated into existing forensics tools at no cost to law enforcement agencies. AFR can cluster images with the same face to help reduce the time it takes for analysts to analyze large amounts of data [3].
2. Tunnel Detection and Surveillance Program help border patrol agents detect and locate clandestine tunnel [2].
  • It helps to exploit the tunnels to arrest and prosecute individuals that take part in the creation and use of the tunnels. This technology aims to reduce the flow of traffic through the tunnels. The tunnel detection and surveillance program also saves border patrol agents time.
  • The through-wall and floor void detection is aimed at a man-portable system that can scan vast areas to locate hidden tunnels and man-made voids behind walls or floors [4].
3. The Port of Entry Forensics and Investigations Program’s goal is to combat transnational crime and investigate child exploitation and human trafficking with the use of data and forensics analysis of the material that has been collected from suspicious packages and cargo.
  • Igloo User Interface enhances the correlation and analysis of open source and historical data so persons engaged in illegal activities such as human trafficking can be identified [5].
  • Enabling Law Enforcement Investigations allows DHS the ability to share, query, and analyze law enforcement information/data to enable their investigations. Actionable and real-time data is made available to ICE and CBP agents to enhance their investigations [5].
  • Intellectual Property Protection increases the ability and effectiveness of DHS agents to balance national security regarding intellectual property [5].

Border patrol technology works to assist border security in providing the maximum possible effort to combat t human trafficking and rescue its victims. Without the innovation and cooperation of multiple agencies and disciplines, it would be impossible to take the fight to a national and worldwide level. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate continues to enhance these methods.

ADF supports border patrol agents with its digital forensic software. The Digital Investigator Pro puts the power of a forensic lab in the hands of digital-first responders so they can quickly collect digital evidence and analyze it in a timeline view to tie the user to files and artifacts. With DEI PRO, border patrol agents can rapidly scan, extract and analyze critical intelligence and perform forensic triage on mobile devices. 

Learn more about DEI PRO and how it can benefit border security and human trafficking investigations.

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Topics: Digital Forensics, Human Trafficking, DEI PRO, DEI PRO Field Tablet

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