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Your Hotel Room Photos Could Help Catch Sex Traffickers

100,000 people people have already downloaded an app that helps fight human trafficking. dryriver summarizes a report from CNN:
Police find an ad for paid sex online. It’s an illegally trafficked underage girl posing provocatively in a hotel room. But police don’t know where this hotel room is — what city, what neighborhood, what hotel or hotel room. This is where the TraffickCam phone app comes in. When you’re staying at a hotel, you take pictures of your room… The app logs the GPS data (location of the hotel) and also analyzes what’s in the picture — the furniture, bed sheets, carpet and other visual features. This makes the hotel room identifiable. Now when police come across a sex trafficking picture online, there is a database of images that may reveal which hotel room the picture was taken in.
“Technology drives everything we do nowadays, and this is just one more tool that law enforcement can use to make our job a little safer and a little bit easier,” says Sergeant Adam Kavanaugh, supervisor of the St. Louis County Multi-Jurisdictional Human Trafficking Task Force. “Right now we’re just beta testing the St. Louis area, and we’re getting positive hits,” he says (meaning ads that match hotel-room photos in the database). But the app’s creators hope to make it available to all U.S. law enforcement within the next few months, and eventually globally, so their app is already collecting photographs from hotel rooms around the world to be stored for future use.


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