Defense tech to combat human trafficking
The mission of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security. This includes technologies to combat trafficking in persons.
DoD News recently interviewed Wade Shen, a program manager in DARPA’s Information Innovation Office, about DARPA’s efforts in countering human trafficking. During the interview, Shen talked about Memex, a program to develop software that advances online search capabilities far beyond the current state of the art, which can help law enforcement officers and others perform online investigations to hunt down human traffickers.
According to Shen, “[DARPA’s] goal is to understand the footprint of human trafficking in online spaces, whether that be the dark web or the open web.” Shen and his team collect data from the internet that is not easily accessible through commercial search engines, and look for “online behavioral signals” that indicate a person may be trafficked. This data generates leads for investigators, and has resulted in hundreds of arrests.