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Human trafficking, according to Wikipedia, is the trade of humans for forced labour. With the advent of the internet and high-speed communication, traffickers have found a new way to advertise their products. A dark subset of human trafficking is sex trafficking, where the victims are forced into sexual exploitation. Traffickers are using the rising popularity of escort websites to advertise their products to the world.

Today, we are going to look at how we can use OIMonitor to identify and then track these advertisements.

We are going to focus on a couple of the largest escort sites currently operating, and we are going to search them for potential trafficking ads.

Identify

We start off by logging into OIMonitor and going into our historical lookup by searching for the desired data in the “Search Artifacts” box.

Our collectors go through these escort sites, pick up any corresponding data it sees, and stores them in the record, as seen above.  From here, we can look through the artifacts and look for similarities between any two. 

From just one data point we can potentially get hundreds of posts, most of which will be the same and, if we are lucky, in different cities.

The information that we have found are posted as if they are the escort’s, but if we assume these women are under the control of a pimp, then it would be the pimp’s.  Perhaps the reason we often see certain data repeated is because changing information costs money, and pimps will only buy a limited number.  It is easier for traffickers to keep the same data and just reuse it than to keep replacing it every time they post a new ad.

Track

Now that we have found some potential traffickers by specific data points, we can add those to an OIMonitor project and get alerted when that data is posted.

By using OIMonitor historical search and alerting we were able to find potential human traffickers and setup alerts. This was a project I was able to put together in just under an hour.