AI Helps Track Down Sex Trafficking Gangs Through Bitcoin trail


If you want to get to go unnoticed in a crime, it's often said that you should simply walk in the world of cryptocurrencies and faceless online pseudonyms, that’s a little bit tougher.
Its reported that, Computer scientists have now developed the first automated system to track down exploitative sex trafficking trails working on the Internet. The tool finds connections between online advertising posts and data from the digital currency Bitcoin using a series of prompted machine learning algorithms. 
Couple months ago, The Washington Post once reported a story of a teen who was trafficked on Backpage.com


“The internet has facilitated a lot of methods that traffickers can take advantage of. They can easily reach big audiences and generate a lot of content without having to reveal themselves,” says Rebecca Portnoff at the University of California, Berkeley.


Thanks to computer scientists who can now flag these kind of crimes and this is how it works,The AI algorithm starts by analyzing the language and structure of the post on online platforms such as Backpage and Craigslist. It can determine which adverts show victims who are forced into prostitution.
“Is the pimp behind that post for Backpage also behind this post in Craigslist? Is he the same man who keeps receiving Bitcoin for trafficked girls?" Rebecca Portnoff, a UC Berkeley PhD candidate in computer science, who developed the tool as part of her dissertation, said in a statement. "Questions like these are answerable only through more sophisticated technological tools – exactly what we’ve built in this work – that link ads together using payment mechanisms and the language in the ads themselves.”
Once an author is flagged as doubting, another AI algorithm is prompted to look at the Bitcoin blockchain. The blockchain is a digital ledger where all transactions and accounts are publicly logged, however the real-life identities of the payees remain unknown. The second algorithm looks at how much money is being exchanged and when the transactions take place, then identifies whether there are any links between this data and the information in the suspicious advert post. this can be used to find the identity of a criminal or a trafficking ring.
After all has been done the case has to be carried out by the police. However, the tool has already shown it holds the potential to be a key tool for law enforcement and nonprofit organizations trying to identify victims of human trafficking. 

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