Exposing Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry, with crimes spanning the entire globe and victims so varied that it is difficult to enact profiles and prevention methods that encompass all of the people affected. Traffickers use violence, threats and fraud to trap victims in horrific situations every day, and they are rarely caught and brought to justice.

What is unique about this crime is that it is trans-regional and transnational, involving people from different cultures across large geographical areas, with many sub-crimes that are committed as part of human trafficking. With this wide range of crime and location, a collaborative and holistic environment is necessary to capture the changing tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) of traffickers.

Savanna’s unique, model-based approach is ideal for analyzing complex, multi-agency threats like human trafficking. Its collaborative, all-source analysis environment provides the necessary tools to discover hidden patterns, make important connections, and compile the evidence necessary to implement effective strategies and countermeasures.

Savanna Takes on Human Trafficking

A group of analysts are tasked with exploring the methodologies and tactics of human traffickers to find prevention methods.

1: Frame the Problem

They begin by framing the problem in Crumbnet, Savanna’s narrative mind mapping tool, defining human trafficking and citing current anti-trafficking laws, such as the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000.

2: Build a Knowledge Network

With Savanna’s dynamic Occurrence dossiers, the analysts collaboratively populate a knowledge network about known human traffickers, transportation, victims, and anti-trafficking organizations. Occurrences are building blocks that capture people, organizations, things, places and events related to a problem. In this case, the analysts use a Person Occurrence to profile a known human trafficker, adding arrest events and linking him to known associates.

3: Visualize Data to Find Meaning

Then, they use Linknet, Savanna’s link charting tool, to add multiple Occurrences from the information network to visualize connections between traffickers. They add the Linknet to the Human Trafficking Investigation Space (Savanna’s content problem area) for later use.

With Timeline, they can drop multiple Occurrences, such as various suspected notable threat person Occurrences, onto a visual span of time to draw connections between events within each Occurrence. Visualizing event times from multiple Person Occurrences side-by-side lets the analysts see similar travel and financial activity between suspected traffickers.

Human Trafficking Occurrence
Human Trafficking Crumbnet

Now, the analysts want to connect geospatial data of victim hotline tips with the movements of known human traffickers. They drag a Grid file (CSV) containing data about recorded tip locations and drop it onto a Savanna Map. The temporal filter allows them to view arrests and victim recovery events from the last five years, and they add stylized filters to distinguish between them. The analysts then take a screenshot to be used later, which is automatically saved to the Space they’re working in.

With Graphic, they can customize Grid (CSV) data to visualize trafficking victims in the United States as a pie chart. Here, they select click callouts to view victim statistics and take a screenshot for later use.

4: Discover New Information

At this point, they want to know more about the TSA’s history and involvement in stopping human trafficking, so they’ll use Savanna’s Search tool to find relevant content. Because Savanna’s Search feature can pull indexed mentions of key terms from within PDFs and Analyst’s Notebook® Charts, they are able to find a previously built Chart uploaded by another Savanna user that outlines a recent investigation and arrest of major networks of criminal traffickers.

5: Place Evidence in Context

The analysts revisit the Crumbnet outlining human trafficking laws and add discoveries and evidence collected throughout their analysis. From the Space Content panel, they add the suspected human trafficker Occurrences and Timeline as supporting evidence to a node. All supporting evidence in Savanna is fully sourced, showing the date, time and source of the information that was added, with the original files available to view or download, making it easy to follow lines of reasoning and drill deeper into supporting evidence right from the Crumbnet.

The Result

Now, with the knowledge and evidence they have created and gathered, they’re ready to tell their story by building a multi-page report in Savanna’s Production tool detailing found information and new hypotheses. In Production, they drag the Map image captured earlier, as well as several other visualizations, along with relevant content on new findings. Once complete, the Production is shared directly with team members using Savanna and exported to PDF to send to fellow analysts and decision-makers for further action.

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