“Traffic Jam” Hits Sex Traffickers

With the advent of the Internet, we now live in an age where so much of life is happening online. By the time the study of online sex trafficking began in a serious scholarly back in 2011, we were already seeing websites like Craigslist and, worst of them all, Backpage emerging as behemoths in online sex trade.

Although some of the ads on those sites were for what we might call “at-will” sex workers, researchers understood early that sex traffickers were flooding these platforms to advertise their (often under-age) victims against their will.

They saw everything from the low level trafficker with one or two victims, to the organized transnational criminal network who sold tens or hundreds of victims on these platforms. In fact, Backpage preferred selling to these larger networks. The more under-age girls pimps would advertise, the more the profits margins would grow. And unscrupulous men like Tony Ortega were on the side of Backpage earning as much money (who do you think paid for his salary?) as it could, regardless of how many young lives it destroyed.

It was sometime around 2012, however, that researchers came up with a plan. They realized there was a huge opportunity to use AI for good to help law enforcement sift through this massive amount of data to find victims— needles in the proverbial haystack, as it were.

The first version of Traffic Jam was deployed early that next year. It was an AI-based investigative tool that sifted through the hundreds of millions of online ads, applying AI to them to help detectives find patterns that would help quickly recover victims.

As an example: facial recognition can enable a detective to use only a photo of a 15 year old victim to identify where she is being sold online and ultimately lead to recovery. Even seemingly innocuous things like pattern and image recognition can be used to enable analysts to search with nothing more than a photo of a hotel room, and recognize patterns like a bedspread that might help law enforcement find multiple victims pictured in the same location.

With this powerful new tool, authorities were able to gain the upper hand, at least as far as it pertained to rescuing victims.

Recently, researchers at Traffic Jam have begun working on new technology that will replicate the work done rescuing victims from the clutches of power hungry sex pests like James Larkin and Michael Lacey. This time its aim will be to empower detectives to find those responsible for building these transnational criminal networks. In other words, the next wave of AI assistance in the shady world of online sex-trafficking intends to target the men behind the pimps.

We here at the blog encourage the use of generating a sex trafficker database in order to bring these criminals, and the parasitic scum who defend them, to account.

Online underage sex trafficking needs to be addressed, not simply by jailing the pimps who took advantage of the sex trafficking platform Backpage provided,  but by going after any and all who helped create and sustain Backpage in the first place.

With this in mind we would like to suggest a first photo to get this database of criminal human traffickers, the sex-ring CEOS, and the bootlicking toadies who fight their battles:

Carl Ferrer, Michael Lacey and James Larkin


Tony Ortega

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