TraffickCam is an app developed by the Exchange Initiative, an organization fighting back against sex trafficking.
The goal of the new app is to build a national database of photos of the insides of hotel rooms to help law enforcement match images posted by sex traffickers to locations, in an effort to map out the routes and methods used by traffickers. The app will also be useful to help locate victims — and the people who put them in their predicament.
Available for both iOS and Android, the app is unlikely to win any design awards, but that isn’t the point; the app makers are solving a tremendous problem and any tools available to help resolve some of this will be welcomed with open arms by the organizations fighting the good fight.
The app is a crowd-sourced data gathering tool which can be used to match known locations to photos confiscated from or shared by the perpetrators. Features such as patterns in the carpeting, furniture, room accessories and window views can be analyzed, and according to the app’s creators, testing shows that the app is 85 percent accurate in identifying the correct hotel in the top 20 matches.
“Law enforcement is always looking for new and innovative ways to recover victims, locate suspects and investigate criminal activity,” said Sergeant Adam Kavanagh, St. Louis County Police Department and Supervisor of the St. Louis County Multi-Jurisdictional Human Trafficking Task Force.
Today, the organization’s database contains 1.5 million photos from more than 145,000 hotels in every major metropolitan area of the U.S., a combination of photos taken by early users of the TraffickCam smartphone app and from publicly available sources of hotel room images.
So, if you do a lot of traveling, install the app and you can help make the world a better place, one potential crime scene at a time.
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