13 Jul #ExpeditionHacks Human Trafficking Hackathon
Blue Compass in collaboration with Mason’s Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC), hosted #ExpeditionHacks Human Trafficking Hackathon, on April 14, 2018. Freedom Light’s Executive Director Dr. Mehlman-Orozco served as a subject matter expert at the event. The hackathon challenged technology experts to create a solution to help combat human trafficking and assist its victims through the use of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, or other methods.
Freedom Light applauds and promotes highly innovative approaches to combating human trafficking within the United States. Technology continues to be exploited by predators who use it to help them bolster their operations, either as an advertising platform, or to get access to vulnerable individuals. Freedom Light believes technology is our most powerful weapon against human trafficking and encourages for more events such as the #ExpeditionHacks the Human Trafficking Hackathon to take place. Bringing together innovators to help aid the anti-trafficking cause is symbolic of what our organization represents every day.
Dr. Mehlman-Orozco’s book—Hidden in Plain Sight: America’s Slaves of the New Millennium—was used as reference material by several of the competing teams, as it contains a glossary of uncoded terms and acronyms utilized in commercial sex advertisements and communications.
In addition to the 36-hour competition, the Hackathon featured breakout sessions and presentations by IBM (https://www.ibm.com/us-en/ ), HERE (https://www.here.com/en ), and Elasticsearch (https://www.elastic.co ).
Winning projects included a tool that maps out high trafficking routes so migrant guest workers can avoid these areas and alert others they’re safe. Also, a blockchain that would facilitate coordination between federal and local law enforcement, and an AI facial recognition app that can connect with security cameras in hotels — places where trafficking activity happens (https://wtop.com/fairfax-county/2018/04/va-hackathon-participants-create-tools-combat-human-trafficking/).