For investigators, you’ve just taken a crime scene photo that might one day help them to track down victims of human trafficking.
Human traffickers use hotels around the world to stash their victims.
The tool – called Hotels 50K – utilizes a data-set containing more than one million images from 50,000 hotels to train a computer vision system to identify objects, decorations, colors, and other discernible markers present in the pictures.
The idea is that researchers find images of victims in rented rooms, obscure the victim, and tell the AI to look at everything else in the photos to determine where it was taken.
A million images might sound like a lot, but there are more than 17 million hotel rooms globally.
Abby Stylinou, one of the authors of the Hotels 50K research paper, told The Register’s Katyanny Quatch:Our selfies and Instagram photos, taken in hotel rooms, are closer in appearance to the images human traffickers use than the promotional photos the hotel chains release .
The researchers did a remarkable job with the data they have — the system correctly identified the specific hotel an image was from 24 percent of the time in a test of 100 photos.
It’s a simple, free app published by Exchange Initiative that lets you upload a picture of any hotel room you stay in to help fight human trafficking.
Reuters recently reported that 150,000 people had installed the TraffickCam app, but TNW hasn’t been able to corroborate that number.
Here’s a TechCrunch article from 2016 with the headline “You can help stop human trafficking with the TraffickCam app.”
Author Haje Jan Kamps wrote:Three years later The Register published “How AI can help halt human sex trafficking – by identifying victims’ hotel rooms from pics,” and here we are again.
Done Katch’ng up but want to read more? Read more here.