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Abstract

Social media and the interactive Web have enabled human traffickers to lure victims and then sell them faster and in greater safety than ever before. However, these same tools have also enabled investigators in their search for victims and criminals. We used system development action research methodology to create and apply a prototype designed to identify victims of human sex trafficking by analyzing online ads. The prototype used a knowledge management approach of generating actionable intelligence by applying a set of strong filters based on an ontology to identify potential victims. We used the prototype to analyze a data set generated from online ads. We used the results of this process to generate a revised prototype that included the use of machine learning and text mining enhancements. We used the revised prototype to identify potential victims in a second data set. The results of applying the prototypes suggest a viable approach to identifying victims of human sex trafficking in online ads.

DOI

10.17705/1CAIS.04223

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