An image intelligence treasure hunt – follow the clues!
Since its beginning in 2016, Global Emancipation Network (GEN) has worked tirelessly to utilise data and technology to counter and combat human trafficking on an international scale. As part of their efforts, they communicate directly with investigators while educating the general public to achieve their mission of finding every victim and stopping every trafficker.
As one of our inspiring partners, we are proud to recognise the global impact of GEN in their campaign against eliminating human trafficking and bringing malicious actors to justice. By providing platforms that enable fast and intuitive access to relevant online data, the GEN team are supporting investigators to work more efficiently, and therefore close cases more quickly, for a range of cases.
We have been working with GEN on an exciting collaborative project which will be announced at this year’s annual PIER event in the last days of June. In the lead up to this event, we wanted to showcase the amazing work GEN is doing through their continued efforts to seek society’s most victimised and uncover the location of malevolent criminals.
Primarily, GEN achieves their goal of reducing the global threat of human trafficking by digitally gathering thousands of trafficking cases and convictions, as well as any supporting data that may be of note. Then, using image analysis tools, the team combines collected data with public records and other open-source resources to provide investigators with quality, case-specific information.
Currently, GEN features two SaaS platforms available for qualified investigative efforts:
Artemis is a software tool that automatically identifies high-risk establishments and individuals for counter-human trafficking stakeholders. Primarily designed for use to combat the illicit massage industry in the state of Florida, Artemis has received funding for expansion into the states of Washington, New York, DC, Texas, and California. In the future, GEN aims to develop the product, prioritising speed, accessibility, and increased efficiency.
The Minerva platform can store and crawl vast trafficking-related datasets, using advanced search processes alongside other capabilities such as geolocation and alerting features. Minerva analyses data from a variety of sources, such as deep and open web advertisements and hosted images, to provide stakeholders with the information needed to identify victims and further their investigations.
As a non-profit, GEN’s products are freely available to any qualified and verified stakeholders. All this information is therefore readily accessible to their long list of global users, which includes law enforcement officials, government agencies, researchers, academics, and anti-trafficking non-profits.
This means that users can develop anti-trafficking efforts without being restrained by financial restrictions – enabling everyone, no matter their means, to find victims as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Although GEN continues to help investigators collect high-quality and actionable data, another aspect of their efforts focuses on building public awareness on what exploitation and trafficking looks like in modern society. In doing so, they aim to both educate the public on how to recognise online trafficking and exploitation, as well as what they can do to make a difference.
A major component of this focus on education consists of informing the public on how mobile devices are becoming more frequently used as the primary means of exploitation – as these devices provide remote platforms for sharing, accessing, and generating victimising content.
However, as more and more activity is hosted online, the silver lining is that more information is available to be captured and utilised to help investigators find perpetrators.
Our team are dedicated to supporting investigators to gain control of CSAM and CSE materials, and that’s why we strongly identified with the global goals of GEN and reached out to establish a partnership four years ago. Since then, we have been involved in numerous joint projects to combine and effectively progress our shared causes.
Our work focuses on supporting each other with investigations where vital information is missing. We also continually work together to further accelerate our missions – such as education campaigns and developing new software for investigators and other relevant parties.
As previously discussed, the current issues of CSAM, exploitation, and trafficking are only worsened by the inclusion of mobile phones – with 69% of CSAM being generated remotely. Recognising this danger, we also aim to increase global awareness of the threats of mobile phone technology, encouraging device manufacturers and governments to introduce specific restrictions to prevent the creation and sharing of classified, exploitative content.
For more information about the continued impact of GEN on international trafficking efforts, visit the PIER conference hosted in conjunction with Anglia Ruskin University on the 29th and 30th of June 2021 – where founder and executive director Sherrie Caltagirone provided a technical overview of their latest victim identification tool in our joint presentation to a collection of academics and law enforcement officials.
Learn more about the annual PIER conference through their site here. Or why not visit Global Emancipation Network’s website, where you can learn more about their worldwide involvement in tackling trafficking and CSE?
For any questions or enquiries you may have, why not contact us to find out more? We’re more than happy to answer any queries you may have.