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Tech Startup Innovating in the Fight Against the Sex-Trafficking Business

Tech Startup Innovating in the Fight Against the Sex-Trafficking Business
Camilo Atkinson

Emily Kennedy is the CEO and founder at Marinus Analytics, a Pittsburgh-based startup that is working along with U.S. law enforcement agencies to eradicate online sex-trafficking.

Kennedy is a human trafficking subject matter expert who began by analyzing child sex-trafficking online ads in her undergrad years at Carnegie-Mellon University. After she graduated from college, she went ahead and developed technology solutions to rescue victims and prosecute exploiters.

Stopping Sex-Trafficking in its Tracks

Traffic Jam is Marinus Analytics’ principal product, and it is currently being used by law enforcement officials and sex-trafficking detectives.

Traffic Jam detects patterns in online sex-trafficking ads, like phone numbers, names, and ad formats. Recently, this tool incorporated facial recognition technology that will allow law enforcement officials to match a photo of a missing child to those advertised on the internet.

“Traffic Jam is a great product for investigators of Human Trafficking and Prostitution… When I used Traffic Jam I located multiple [pieces of evidence] that I was not able to find in over eight hours of searching, and Traffic Jam did it in just under 10 seconds. I cannot say enough about Traffic Jam.”

— Detective, California Police Department

According to a company press release, Traffic Jam is the beginning of applied artificial intelligence to find victims of sex-trafficking. It uses the latest advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, predictive modeling, and geospatial analysis.

Marinus Analytics is a pioneer in using facial recognition technology against such an important cause. The deep, dark networks of human traffickers preying on vulnerable children has to be stopped, and it’s refreshing to see someone finally stepping up to the plate.

This facial recognition technology is currently available with Traffic Jam and it can be used by any law enforcement agency that needs it.

Backlash Against Facial Recognition Technology

On the other hand, the increasing use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement is raising concerns on privacy matters. However, Kennedy says she is not worried at all about misuse because her company’s tool is very focused.

Could this be the end of sex-trafficking as we know it, or will traffickers just get smarter in order to avoid getting caught? We certainly don’t know, but what we do know is that people like Ms. Kennedy are making a huge contribution to a better world.

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