January brings awareness to Human Trafficking, a crime that involves exploiting a person for labor, services, or commercial sex. Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking and it is not only limited to the exploitation of children. Human trafficking is a global problem and can occur just about anywhere, and often involves multiple jurisdictions, whether local, state, or international.
One of the most recognized forms of human trafficking is sex trafficking. Sex trafficking involves compelling individuals, either by force, fraud, or coercion, to engage in commercial sex acts. Labor and service trafficking are also when individuals are compelled by force, threats, or fraud to perform labor or service. When dealing with the exploitation of children, force, fraud, or coercion are not necessary to prove. When dealing with human trafficking, in any form, there will most likely be several digital devices involved that will contain vital information integral to the investigation.
Human trafficking investigations involve multi-faceted investigations that take many hours and can take you in several directions. Investigators often access OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) to obtain information on a potential victim, target, or location and are often tasked with gathering information from a digital device immediately in order to continue on with an investigation. ADF tools such as Mobile Device Investigator or Digital Evidence Investigator give you the ability to triage a device and document the data you have in front of you, right then, right there.
During your investigation, you may have the opportunity to encounter a device you can use for intelligence, such as a mobile device with call records. Using MDI in preview mode can assist you in getting the logs in a very short amount of time. You can also screenshot information from anything you can see or navigate to on the device. Documented intelligence as seen by the user, in seconds. Report ready with integrity hashes, date and time, device, and more.
As noted, many investigations are started without a device and require OSINT to obtain information on your target and location. It is important to make note of the unique information you will find in this part of the investigation so that you may link it to the target and target devices. Unique items that may be useful in liking devices are items of specificity that would normally not be found on a large percentage of devices. Unique and specific will help you zero in on your evidence without having to search through false positives. Keywords such as email addresses, IP addresses, unique last names, banking accounts, wire transfer numbers, money control numbers, specific or misspelled messages, phone numbers, and hashes of images you may have encountered in your investigation. Creating a keyword and hash list with these unique items and targeting the specific artifacts and file content will assist you in pinpointing the information on any device in minutes, allowing you to come to a quick resolution in your investigation.
Watch our recorded webinar about investigating human trafficking.
See related videos: