Huffpost Impact

How Big Data Is Fighting Human Trafficking: Google, CNN, Others Share Solutions (VIDEO)

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For some 27 million victims of modern-day slavery, there is one combatant leading the way in terms of prevention and protection: technology.

A recent panel featuring Google, CNN, HuffPost and others discussed ways big data is being used to target traffickers and affect changes in policy that fights modern-day slavery.

Google Giving and anti-trafficking nonprofit the Polaris Project spoke out on HuffPost Live about how they're using technology to fight the issue. The two groups are culling data of reported trafficking instances involving anyone from sex workers to witnesses to truckers to carnival workers. Google and Polaris are then mapping information, tagging it and looking for patterns they can use to inform law enforcement and affect policy change.

"Traffickers are very good at using technology to enslave women and to traffic children, but we need [technology] to empower the good guys on the front lines," Jaqueline Fuller, director of Google Giving -- which recently allocated $3 million to fight trafficking -- told HuffPost Live.

HuffPost Impact editor Jessica Prois pointed out other ways that -- while nonprofits press the government to do more to fight trafficking -- the business sector is using technology to fill in where it can. Banks, for example, are using resources such as digital fingerprints to stem trafficking as a business.

The value in these types of initiatives could lie in the fact that victims and bystanders might be more likely to report instances of trafficking to non-government organizations, Bradley Myles, executive director of the Polaris Project, pointed out during the segment.

"We're not the government and we're not law enforcement, so people generally give us very direct information about what they're experiencing," he said.

And it's these types of reports that CNN is working to document. Leif Coorlim, the editorial director of its trafficking series "Freedom Project," shared stories about using mapping and technology to pinpoint trafficking instances originating in web chartrooms between young girls and perpetrators.

Margaret Howard, a trafficking victim-turned-advocate, pointed out during the HuffPost Live segment that stories like these highlight the fact that trafficking spans both the labor and sex industries and prevention includes tackling slavery in supply chains as well as advocating for those are are kidnapped or sexually exploited.

WATCH THE SEGMENT ABOVE.

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