Exposing human trafficking networks with AI
Artemis is the world's first human trafficking content classifier, developed by the Global Emancipation Network (GEN) and Accenture.
Human trafficking is a global issue on a horrific scale, with an estimated 25 million victims across the globe each year.1 Trafficking is the recruitment and enslavement of people by fraud, force, or coercion. Yet as pervasive as human trafficking is, the criminals behind it are especially hard to find. Traffickers utilize numerous industries to mask their dark undercurrent of activity, with secret global networks spanning hospitality, transportation, banking, and more.
Investigating trafficking is labor-intensive and often reactive. Law enforcement authorities, overwhelmed by tips and information, struggle to sift through it all while relying on dated systems to organize their data. And traffickers often hide in plain sight, taking advantage of technologies such as encrypted phones, social media, and the deep web to surreptitiously market and profit from their victims. Meanwhile, most police departments are still using paper forms and manual data entry.
Global Emancipation Network (GEN), aids investigators and law enforcement agencies by providing them with a clearinghouse of human trafficking data worldwide. Collecting information from thousands of sources, the nonprofit needed an innovative technology solution to help optimize the use of this data and find connections between seemingly disparate datapoints. Ideally, this tech would provide insights and prioritization that investigators do not have the time to identify on their own. To catch more of these worst-of-the-worst criminals, GEN wanted to utilize cutting edge data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to enable it to improve its infiltration and exposure of trafficking networks, and ultimately save more lives.
"Human trafficking represents one of the most egregious crimes in the world today. There are somewhere between 20 million and 45 million victims currently enslaved around the world, representing the second most profitable crime."
GEN partnered with Accenture, Splunk, provider of the Data-to-Everything™ Platform, and technology partner, Graphistry, to develop Artemis, the world's first human trafficking content classifier.
To build Artemis, a multi-disciplinary Accenture team with global reach, leading data sciences knowledge, and AI expertise worked closely with analysts and investigators. They focused on collating public records, such as business license databases, adverse filings, and online review sites. Knowing traffickers use deep web to conceal their activity from law enforcement officers, the team set up online personas to infiltrate paywalled and membership only forums and scrape data.
A machine learning-based solution, Artemis uses a risk scoring engine to analyze data and indicators for potential illegal activity. By doing so, it identifies businesses and individuals most likely involved in human trafficking activity and sends alerts to law enforcement agencies so they can further investigate.
Over 16.9M reports were made to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTip line in 2019.2
465 businesses were scored by Artemis as the highest level of risk - a 100% likelihood of being engaged in illegal trafficking activity.
Insights garnered from Artemis have already led to prosecutions in California’s Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties.
For federal, state and local law enforcement authorities, a constant source of stress and frustration is a lack of bandwidth to investigate the immense number of human trafficking tips they receive.
Throughout the collaboration, Accenture’s Applied Intelligence team worked closely with GEN to ensure the solution aligned with common law enforcement policies and investigative procedures. They interviewed district attorneys, investigators, detectives and human trafficking victims to thoroughly understand how the law enforcement system approaches these cases. This insight then informed the development of the solution so that it best supported and supplemented investigative operations.
Artemis is designed to work in synergy with law enforcement agencies, augmenting team capacity and officers’ abilities. While officials often rely on receiving credible leads, this enables them to be more proactive in launching and speeding their investigations.
Artemis was first deployed in cooperation with investigators to identify potential perpetrators in the massage parlor industry in Florida. The teams scored 465 businesses the highest level of risk, suggesting a 100% likelihood of being engaged in illegal trafficking activity. Since, Artemis has been provided to various public safety agencies, private organizations and non-profits. The solution enables them to quickly focus their counter trafficking on the prime suspects, and quickly assimilate evidence to inform sting operations as well as warrants for search or arrest.
Insights garnered from Artemis have already led to prosecutions in California’s Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties. Plans are also underway to apply Artemis at banks, to help identify financial transactions related to human trafficking, and social media platforms, where victims’ services are advertised, as well as hotel and massage chains.
Through the application of new data science and machine learning techniques, Accenture Applied Intelligence has supported GEN in their fight against human trafficking. Empowered to move at the same pace as the perpetrators, Artemis gives GEN the potential to save more lives and bring more criminals to justice.
"Accenture's Applied Intelligence created the solution for combating human trafficking using data and analytics. We've created a platform which is a proactive, automated, risk classification engine for massage parlor businesses."