Anti-Human Trafficking Technology Innovations

Learn how the use of technology can expose and help end human trafficking, and consider how your institution can become involved.

Technology is increasingly recognized for its great potential in the fight against human trafficking.

Technology-driven initiatives are being introduced by organizations across industries, as well as in collaborative partnerships. There are numerous opportunities for FIs to support these innovations, by leveraging, financing, and promoting them. Below are some of the most innovative current uses of technology and data in the fight against trafficking, organized by the capability they serve.

Incidence Mapping

  • University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab is an academic initiative that leverages satellite data and geospatial techniques to track and mobilize forces against modern slavery. The project focuses on South Asia and its brick-making industry, which today relies on 5 million manual laborers, the majority of whom are working in bonded and forced labor conditions with a substantial portion under 18 years of age.
  • Safecity is a nonprofit platform that crowdsources personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces in India, Kenya, Cameroon and Nepal. It aggregates submissions (which can be anonymized for safety) as hotspots onto a map. Safecity presents trends at a local level for individuals, communities and administrations to identify factors that trigger behavior that leads to violence and suggest strategies for solutions, as well as guides individuals to understand and plan around risks.
  • Cadasta is a nonprofit organization offering an open and flexible suite of mobile and web based tools designed to help users collect, manage, and store land and resource rights data, and is able to identify trafficking locations, risks, and culprits.

Victim Identification

  • Spotlight by Thorn is a database resource for police officers – used today in all 50 states and Canada – to track and combat trafficking. Spotlight is built on a data archive of millions of records of escort ads and forum data collected from various websites. It offers officers the ability to search or filter escort ads based on phone number, email, key words, age, location, time frame, and more.
  • PhotoDNA is a capability built by Microsoft that creates a unique digital signature (known as a “hash”) of an image then compared against signatures (hashes) of other photos to find copies of the same image. PhotoDNA can be matched against a database containing hashes of previously identified illegal images, to help spot, stop, and report suggestive images.
  • ID2020 Alliance is a global partnership to create a digital identity for all individuals globally. The Alliance believes that a digital identity is the gateway to political, economic, and social opportunity, and accountability for governance. To reflect the latest technological innovations, the Alliance was founded by Accenture, Gavi, Microsoft, Rockefeller Foundation and in conjunction with governments and NGOs to execute at scale through its partnerships.
  • World Identity Network is an alliance of NGO, UN, and professional partners. It advocates for secure, self-sovereign identity through blockchain, to help prevent human trafficking.

Communication:

  • Project Intercept developed by Microsoft leverages the company’s automated chatbot product to catch and warn those seeking sex for money. The bots work through fake ads soliciting offering purchasable sex. Once an offer of money for sex has been made, the Project Intercept chatbot will issue a warning about reporting.
  • REFUNITE is a technology nonprofit whose mission is to reconnect refugee families across the globe with missing loved ones. Through a founding partnership with Ericsson, USSD, SMS and hotlines, and more recently through Facebook’s Free Basics service, REFUNITE is readily accessible in 17 of the world’s highest-risk countries.
  • FRAMLx is a cross-institution fraud detection and anti-money laundering solution for financial institutions offered by Verafin. It enables organizations to share transaction activity with institutions in the Verafin cloud –exceeding 1,500 US organizations today– and enables their collaboration and communication under 314(b).

Cryptocurrency in Trafficking:

  • International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children researched cryptocurrencies and their role in commercial sexual exploitation of children. They evaluated the Blockchain architecture behind cryptocurrencies as well as Bitcoin specifically. The Centre summarizes the underground and illegal uses of the currencies, as well as the ramifications for law enforcement and industry.
  • Stanford Center for Blockchain Research is an innovation lab that works with law enforcement in crypto detection.

Dynamic Hybrid:

  • Stop the Traffik in partnership with IBM® i2® is a collaborative effort between the nonprofit and the technology company that features a data analysis tool that can present an overlay of hotspot and trend data with transactional data. The resource can to help connect human trafficking and slavery with money-laundering activity.
  • Tech Against Trafficking: is a 2018-launched, collaborative effort between digital partners that will aim to research and develop solutions to reduce human trafficking, prevent and identify crimes and support the recovery and reentry by victims into society. BT, Microsoft, Nokia, and Salesforce are founding members who are exploring how technology can be better utilized in the fight against human trafficking.