Public Security Blog
Tackling the Traffickers: How Technology Can Help
Despite the growing prevalence of human trafficking and the universal condemnation it attracts, most of the UK’s judicial system has no involvement with it and does not deploy any resources towards actively tackling it. Human trafficking is a problem that all parts of the system should be taking increasingly seriously. Currently, there is little evidence that this is the case.
Today, law enforcement agencies are typically relianton information that they receive unprompted – often from members of the public. If they really want to get to grips with the problem, they need to be more proactive in gathering information.
In both the resources put into tackling human trafficking and the sophistication of the approach, agencies typically fall short of the way in which they tackle terrorism. This should not be allowed to continue. After all, human trafficking is a problem that is similar to terrorism in its scope, importance and effect and therefore needs to be dealt with in a similarly rigorous way.
So, how can crime fighting agencies be more proactive in gathering the necessary information and intelligence to investigate these crimes, arrest the guilty and bring them to justice?
The first and most important priority is capturing relevant data in the most efficient and effective way possible. Crime-fighting and investigative agencies need to identify how they are going to acquire the data, hold it, share it and work with other agencies bringing in information across borders and from overseas.
In tackling these challenges, Agencies will need to have access to systems that can help deliver information-sharing,information-gathering and intelligence management. Then and only then, can they put in place a combination of analytics to detect suspicious patterns of behaviour and to ensure relevant data held by different agencies is widely available to all as actionable intelligence.
Their modelling and predictive analytics capabilities will need to enable them to build models that outline what unusual behaviour looks like and track the activities of suspects against that, making decisions about which individuals they decide to stop and search as a direct consequence.
Looking at the Whole
Such is the complexity and scale of people trafficking networks, taking a holistic approach is critical here. Often, arresting one individual or uncovering one location where people trafficking is taking place will be just a tiny part of the process. People trafficking is big business and agencies investigating it will need to understand the entire interconnected network of people to truly crack the problem. Ultimately, a joined-up approach to intelligence will be vital if this serious and rapidly growing criminal activity is to be effectively tackled.