“Emily Kennedy’s high-tech mission to stop human trafficking began years ago when she was traveling through Serbia, Macedonia and Albania.”
“the internet has become a popular tool for human traffickers, particularly in the sex trade, to advertise and sell their victims.”
“working to use facial recognition technology to help authorities catch leaders of human trafficking rings.”
In fact, >90% of former victims report being arrested, yet ~75% say they never had an opportunity to discuss their situation with police and were returned to their traffickers.
“In January, the FBI took down a ring of sex trafficking operations in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
A federal grand jury in Portland, Ore., indicted six individuals”
“The National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance… assisted in the case by seizing websites where prostitution services were advertised.”
“These sex trafficking circles primarily used the website supermatchescort.com… The FBI seized that domain name and about 500 associated ones. “
“Marinus Analytics claims that it generated the original lead for this case with help from Traffic Jam, its facial recognition tool.”
“Marinus has collected millions of publicly available images from websites where prostitution services are advertised. These become the data points for its facial recognition platform, powered by artificial intelligence.”
“‘The software connects and finds needles in the haystack,’ Ms. Jones explained. “Through computer vision, we can connect content on these sites, based on the face or broader similarity in the background or foreground.”
“According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 127 cases of human trafficking were reported last year in Pennsylvania.”
“In January, 90 advocacy groups penned a letter to tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon, asking them not to sell facial recognition technology to the government.”
Emily Kennedy: “Our contribution is really about reaching underserved populations that need technology and AI that wouldn’t otherwise get an opportunity.”
So, when sex workers are targeted all these marginalized populations are disproportionately affected