Business travellers can join the fight against sex trafficking by taking a few simple pictures of their hotel rooms, which investigators can then use to identify locations that commonly appear in images of trafficking victims.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the U.S., making this an ideal time to download the free TraffickCam app to your mobile device. More than 100,000 photos of hotel and motel rooms have been uploaded to the app by travellers; the images are then added to a database that investigators use to match carpeting patterns, furniture, accessories and views outside windows to photos advertising sex trafficking victims, which often are shot in hotel rooms.
UNICEF estimates that 5.5 million children are trafficked worldwide each year; the average age of victims is 12 to 14 years old.
“Everyone who travels on vacation or business can make a real difference in the fight sex trafficking by using TraffickCam to upload photos of their hotel and motel rooms,” says Molly Hackett, principal of the Exchange Initiative, which developed the app with researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
The app is available for iPhone and iPad at the App Store (bit.ly/TraffickCamApp) and for Android devices at Google Play (bit.ly/TraffickCamAndroid).