Alexon Bell, Global Head of AML and Compliance at Quantexa
Technology is both a blessing and a curse for officials fighting against human trafficking.
With the rise of social media and a world growing smaller through communication platforms, alongside the accessibility of online advertisements and encrypted messaging apps, traffickers have a host of technologies at their fingertips to help entrap victims, advertise their services and cover up the trafficker’s own illegal activity.
However, new technologies are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are playing a key role in eliminating human trafficking. Some are used to discoverand rescue victims, others to identify networks of perpetrators. Many of these advancements are beginning to empower governments to source the root of trafficking rings and stop the activity at its core. In turn, this puts a new and heavier responsibility onto banks and corporates to innovate and improve their systems to themselves spot any nefarious activity and feed this back into the global effort against trafficking.
At the heart of each case of human trafficking is a victim, butknowing the identity of this victim is difficult. Hundreds of images of abused children are shared online every day – even if all of these are flagged, many will be duplicates of cases that have already been actioned. Understanding whether an image is a duplicate or a new photo – which would require a new response from law enforcement – is difficult as such images are hard to track.
Previously, traffickers wanting to proliferate an image could make small tweaks to it, such as adding marks or a resizing the photo….