stop hands, black and white color

Researchers use AI to help identify victims of human trafficking

July 18, 2022
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Alexandra Stevenson never imagined her loving relationship with her boyfriend would turn abusive or that she would someday become a victim of human trafficking.

Stevenson says she was sexually abused by her best friend’s uncle when she was 13 years old. When she tried to break up with her boyfriend, he threatened her with violence.

She says her boyfriend used her drug habit to control her and made a deal with a strip club owner to make her pay with her body.

Human trafficking is a “huge concern” in B.C., with many high-school students and youth living on the streets becoming victims.

Researchers hope artificial intelligence can help fight human trafficking by identifying those most at risk and educating young people about the issue.

Experts say most of the luring happens online, and that human trafficking is “Canada’s best-hidden crime” because it involves coercion.

Researchers used algorithms to identify people who they believe were potentially victims of human trafficking. They found that 40 per cent of sex work advertisements in B.C. were “indicative of human trafficking”.

Stevenson says the problem of predatory dating is growing in B.C. due to isolation during the pandemic.

The study presents tools that may be helpful in prosecuting human trafficking cases, but questions whether or not it will help victims.

Stevenson says a car accident gave her the break she needed to escape her boyfriend. She now advocates for victims and survivors of human trafficking through her platform, The Laughing Survivor.

If you are a victim of human trafficking in Canada, please contact us.We can help.