Human Trafficking is a global problem, effecting the lives of millions of people. Traffickers deceive women, men and children from all corners of the world and force them into exploitative situations every day. Whilst the best known form of human trafficking is for the purpose of sexual exploitation, hundreds of thousands of victims are trafficked for the purposes of forced labour, domestic servitude, child begging or the removal of their organs.
In this interview, Neil Giles explains to Financial Crime News, why as programme manager of the Traffik Analysis Hub it has the potential to be a real game-changer in the fight against modern slavery and how information sharing, technology and collaboration are at the heart of this initiative.
FCN: How big is the problem of Human Trafficking?
NG: “Approximately 40 million people around the world are exploited, generating $150 billion in profit to traffickers, making it the second largest trafficking crime after drugs and a top 5 criminal market. Global efforts to counter human trafficking by finding this profit trail are ineffective and fragmented. Organisations commonly work in silos which yield reduced and sometimes counter productive results.”
FCN: So What is the Traffik Analysis Hub and how will it help?
NG: “The Traffik Analysis Hub (TA Hub) is a partnership across industries and sectors including financial institutions, NGOs, law enforcement and government agencies; all unified by the common goal of sharing data to stop human trafficking. Using advanced cognitive technologies developed by IBM, the TA Hub partners gather and share human trafficking information easily and quickly, as part of their day to-day business. IBM uses AI technology to quickly analyze and process volumes of data from a variety of sources; while ensuring its security and integrity.”
“In simple terms we are encouraging those with information to supply those who can act on information via a secure confidential platform. We think this will be a game changer in the approach taken to tackle human trafficking.”
FCN: Is this different?
NG: “Yes – In the past, various organizations have worked in silos, unable to share information with one another in their effort to stop human trafficking. But, the TA Hub platform has changed this; it enables partners to combine data from many sources and formats, allowing analysts to draw on an even richer pool of data than ever before. Analysts are better able to identify trafficking patterns, networks and hotspots and focus their energy directing the right anti-trafficking resources for the specific problem. The platform is hosted in a secure IBM Cloud environment and uses the highly advanced technologies of IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, data visualization, and data analytics, using a wide range of open source data to augment manually curated data from the programme partners.”
FCN: So this is about smart collaboration through information sharing and enabling technology?
NG: “Yes – we want to unite partners who share information, in order to disrupt human trafficking. We can and we must work together to stop human trafficking. And technology in today’s advanced world allows us to find and disrupt the core of global trafficking through rescue, disruption of networks and elimination of profits.”
FCN: So whose already involved?
NG “The partners are initially drawn primarily from three sectors: financial services institutions, NGOs and voluntary sector organizations and law enforcement and government agencies. Each has potential to contribute and benefit from the program.”
FCN: What do Partner’s contribute and what are the benefits?
NG:“Partners contribute data against a structure we have called golden tags. There is already a considerable weight of records assembled and we expect this repository to grow substantially over the next few months. Each can access the data pool and visualise it in a growing variety of ways, informed by their sector requirement. We believe this can be particularly helpful for financial services institutions, in their fight to prevent systematic abuse of payment processes by traffickers, and corporations in their work to cleanse supply chains of forced labour.”
FCN: Why join?
NG: “Because we are at a time in history where working together on a global level is actually possible, and by doing so, we can have a deeply powerful impact; more powerful than by working alone. More partners means more data from a variety of sources – and this improves the IBM’s advanced cognitive technology’s ability to hone in and find trouble spots and actually uncover trafficking activity. This is your chance to be part of history and finally put an end to trafficking.”
For more details see: http://www.traffikanalysis.org
To get involved contact Neil Giles at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Neil Giles is Programme Manager of the Traffik Analysis Hub, launched by STOP THE TRAFFIK (STT) with partners in October 2018 and overseeing the development of the Hub. Neil has been working with STT since 2008, is currently Director of the STT Centre for Intelligence-Led Prevention (CfILP). Neil has a long history in Law Enforcement with New Scotland Yard in the UK, Regional and National Crime Squads, National Criminal Intelligence Service and Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in leading major international programmes to counter organised crime.