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Stanford HAI grant funds AI efforts to disrupt human trafficking

A row of charcoal ovens in a Brazilian forest
Photo courtesy of Luis Fabiano de Assis
Apr 21 2021

Stanford University's Human Trafficking Data Lab—a joint venture by our Center—is using satellite imagery to disrupt forced labor, thanks to a 2020 grant from Stanford University Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI). The Lab is a multi-stakeholder effort with our Center, School of Medicine, Graduate School of Business, Department of Statistics, and the Center for Health Policy/Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research. HAI’s seed research grants support new, ambitious, and speculative ideas with the objective of getting initial results.

The Lab develops scalable technologies within the modern data economy to uncover instances of human trafficking and support interventions for people in forced labor situations. Our Center's Senior Program Manager Jessie Brunner and Visiting Scholar Luis Fabiano de Assis work alongside multidisciplinary faculty members to employ powerful anti-trafficking data resources to create a unique decision-support system combining near real-time machine learning insights with AI technology capable of proactively identifying forced labor and trafficking.

Lab team members are developing a human trafficking data repository as a global model for integrating existing government data sources and using that repository to advance multidisciplinary research projects on trafficking markets and policy impact. Led by principal investigators and co-PIs Victoria Ward, Mike Baiocchi, and Grant Miller, the HAI-funded project enables the Lab to better crosslink satellite imagery with cases of illegal labor camps, produce open-source tools and a newly digitized inspection report cache in an effort to disrupt systems of exploitation.

Read more about the Data Lab here.