Using modern forensic tools to combat human trafficking

According to the US National Human Trafficking Resource Center, Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will.

Human trafficking has been found in a wide variety of venues within the sex industry, including residential brothels, escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs, and street prostitution.

Human trafficking has also been found in diverse labor settings including, domestic work, small businesses, large farms, and factories.

Law enforcement agencies have a critical role to play in anti-human trafficking efforts. Law enforcement personnel may come into contact with victims of human trafficking in many situations. Whether responding law enforcement agents identify victims during a crisis call, routine traffic stop, or during a long-term investigation, they are in a position to protect and assist victims of trafficking as well as bring traffickers to justice.

In our modern surveillance society, the chances are that human traffickers have been captured on video dozens of times per day. The problem is, law enforcement agencies have lacked the ability to sift through the thousands of hours of video, often contained within unusable proprietary video formats. Until now, that is …

Using our powerful tools, let’s examine a solution to the problem of processing massive amounts of video in order to find and rescue victims of human trafficking.

Human traffickers behave in patterns. They often frequent the same areas like motels, shopping center parking lots, and bus stations. These locations often have surveillance systems, systems that can be leveraged to help your investigation.

Starting with the proprietary video files, Axon Five can be used to convert non-standard file types into a standard format that you can view and work with on your PC. No more searching for players and codecs. Axon Five is able to convert more than 80% of the proprietary video from digital CCTV systems.

In cases where the trafficking activity is obvious, but occurs at night / in the shadows, Axon Five’s powerful assortment of enhancement filters can be utilized to clarify images and video …

allowing investigators to see into the shadows …

But, what about when the trafficking activity isn’t obvious? What about the activity that happens behind closed doors? Eventually, people have to enter and exit through those doors, move through parking lots and walk down corridors. This is where Axon Five really shines.

Take the typical motel, like the one pictured on the right. If investigators have identified this location as one frequented by human traffickers, the location’s own CCTV can be used to identify the illegal activity.

Let’s see how …

Axon Five’s Motion Detection filter is a fast way to find motion events in a video. Simply select the Motion Detection Filter from the Select Frames filter group and define the area of the video where motion detection is performed. Then let Axon Five do the work of identifying the times within the video when there’s activity.

Investigators used to have to watch the video in real-time in order to track this sort of activity. Other vendors offer analytical tools that claim to perform this search function. But, they’re very expensive and only work with standard file formats. Given the amount of human trafficking cases in the US, that’s a lot of work to do. As Motion Detection is built into Amped Five, there’s no need for an additional product. Everything you need to work with your video is built into the program.

Once finished, your video will show only those instances where motion was detected in the search area. You now have the information and proof necessary to generate search warrants and nuisance abatements.

Victims of trafficking are some of the most vulnerable that you will ever deal with as an investigator. We want to give them every protection that we possibly can. Thus, when releasing the resulting video and image files to the courts and the news media, we want to make sure that the privacy of the victims is protected. With Axon Five, redacting images and video is easy.

Redacting multiple license plates in a video or image is easy.

Redacting multiple faces in a video or image is easy …

… and don’t forget the reflections.

As you can see, Axon Five is a powerful tool that can be utilized to assist investigators dealing with crimes related to human trafficking. From proprietary CCTV files to covert body worn undercover video, to pole cameras, Axon Five can handle it all … quickly.

To find out more, or to receive a quote, click here.

The Axon Forensic Suite tools are powered by Amped Software technologies.

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