This free app is fighting human trafficking, 4 pictures at a time

This free app is fighting human trafficking, 4 pictures at a time

The dark underbelly of society is not something we like to think about — much less talk about — but it’s there. An app named TraffickCam shines a light on human trafficking, and lets you intervene without getting involved.

After downloading the app, all you have to do is snap four pictures of a hotel room you’re staying in (as well as note the hotel’s name and location). From there, those images are added into a national database authorities can use to cross-reference images found online.

“Right now there are pictures posted every day. Hundreds of pictures, in every city around the United States, posted online, that show victims of trafficking, in hotel rooms posed on beds” says Washington University Researcher and TraffickCam developer Abby Stylianou.

TraffickCam already has about 1.5 million images. The idea is to help identify where people are being roomed, which can help authorities identify known routes human traffickers take when shuttling people around the globe.

Sgt. Adam Kavanaugh of the St. Louis County Police leads the Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and says “the average age, when we talk to our girls that we deal with, most of them have started at 13, 14 years old.”

“I think it’s going to be crucial to help us identify not only where they’re at now, but where they’ve been at. Which is something we need – that’s helps with prosecution.”

TraffickCam is available for iOS, Android and the Web, and is free to use. While the purpose of the app is tough to think about, helping children out of situations they’d otherwise not get through is worth a few minutes of mental discomfort when traveling.

via Fox 2 St. Louis

TraffickCam on TraffickCam

Read next: The unofficial WWDC app now has transcripts of all session videos