When law enforcement in Connecticut and New York are investigating sex trafficking cases, they have many tools at their disposal. Now, researchers have introduced a new method of identification that could help officers narrow down locations where illegal transactions may be taking place.
According to Futurity, TraffickCam is an app that provides a way for those who stay in hotels to participate in the investigations. This tool allows hotel guests to take pictures of their rooms from as many as four angles or perspectives, and then upload them to a web database. The hotel rooms photographed and uploaded already number 1.5 million. Because the app allows the location of the images to be tagged, officers may be able to use them when conducting their investigations.
The database, which is accessible only to law enforcement, can be cross referenced against illicit pictures of children in hotel rooms posted by those in the sex trafficking trade, which investigators access online. According to The Washington Post, a police sergeant at the precinct where the app is currently in use has conducted a personal test using a small sample of pictures, and found that 85 percent of the matched photos were accurate.
Although the internet has been a way for law enforcement to find pictures of minors who may be involved in the sex trade, it may also be contributing to the expansion of trafficking by providing a wider forum. Developers hope that this app will be instrumental in slowing or reversing that trend as it involves the public and brings more attention to this topic.