Using AI to Fight Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery… Can We Win?

By Avantika Chopra

From fiction to fact

To be able to train robots to think, act and react like human beings has intrigued experts worldwide. The response to the launch of ChatGPT, which prompted almost every individual to explore the chatbot and interact with it, showcases the curiosity around AI and how the unfamiliar experience has drawn people to it.

Understanding Modern Slavery

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) describes human trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit.” However, over the years, human trafficking, as a phrase, has switched over to modern slavery, explains Matthew Friedman, CEO of The Mekong Club and Global Expert on modern slavery.

Can AI tools be used to help fight modern slavery?

Over the past years, Friedman elaborated on how the evolution of the tech industry has trickled its way into his work. Citing an example, Friedman shared an incident where he and his team developed a tool to track responses from workers at a factory they had to audit. The company claims to have saved an estimated 70,000 investigative hours in 2020, recovered a missing person within a week of her going missing and arrested a trafficker, who was earning around $250,000 a year by exploiting over 20 women.

How AI tools can help detect suspicious activities related to human trafficking and modern slavery

At present, AI tools are no more limited to certain sectors and are being explored by experts to tap the benefits of this advancement. It is evident that AI tools can be utilized to not only fight modern slavery but also provide approachable options for victims and survivors.

AI – the double edge sword

The integration of data fusion and AI tools can play a key role in fighting and drastically reducing the exponentially high number of people forced into modern slavery. However, the potential of the field is yet to be tapped into, and more data, analytics, and visualization tools need to be incorporated and used in order to win the fight.

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