- A mobile app has been devised to allow people in tracking down sex trafficking dens
- The app TraffickCam lets travellers upload photos of their hotel rooms, which will be matched to suspected sex trafficking photos
- It compares and contrast photos based on a room’s features such as the carpeting and the furnitures in place
A smartphone application in the United States (US) have been developed to allow users to help the police catch suspected sex traffickers while they are travelling.
Called TraffickCam, the app lets users upload photos of the hotel rooms they visit, which will be matched to the police’s national database.
“You just enter your hotel room, and your room number. You take four pictures, and you submit them to the website,” explained Abby Stylianou, one of the app’s developers, in a WNEP story.
“Those become part of the pipeline that law enforcement can use to track down where the victims are being trafficked,” she added.
According to Stylianou, hundreds of photos that depicts sex trafficking are posted online in the United States everyday. The photos submitted by travelers can help in matching and pinpointing where exactly these photos were taken.
The app employs an algorithm that compares hotel rooms through key elements such as its furnishing – carpets, accessories, etc.
Currently, 1.5 million photos have been submitted to the app with the big support of the public.
US’ National Human Trafficking Center estimates that there are about 4,000 reported cases of trafficking last year. But the US Department of Justice said there are no consistent estimates of cases in terms of trafficking among minors.
The app came into development through the joint effort of Washington University and non-profit organization, the Exchange Initiative.
“It’s great that everyday citizens can do everyday things by taking a picture help stop sex trafficking,” Exchange Initiative executive Molly Hackett said.
“I think it’s going to be crucial to help us identify not only where they’re at now, but where they’ve been at. Which is something we need – that’s helps with prosecution,” he added.