If you have taken the time to see the recent movie called Sound of Freedom, you know exactly what we mean when we say God’s children are not for sale. But if you haven’t seen the movie, strongly consider taking the time to do so while it’s here in Nashville Tennessee in theaters.
The battle against human trafficking is a critical global challenge that demands extensive and collaborative actions to address and eliminate it. The rise of technology in recent years has established a powerful role in combating this terrible crime. The movie "Sound of Freedom" serves as a remarkable depiction of how technology has had a significant influence on the fight against human trafficking.
Digital tools have played a pivotal role in empowering law enforcement agencies, advocacy groups, and individuals engaged in the struggle. Technology has facilitated more effective data collection and analysis, enabling authorities to identify patterns and hotspots of trafficking activities.
Digital platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, and more have emerged, providing victims with channels to seek help and support, ensuring their voices are heard, and connecting them with rescue organizations and resources.
One inspiring story that shows how social media and APPs can fight human trafficking is the story of Maria, a human trafficking survivor.
Maria, a survivor of human trafficking, found herself trapped in a foreign country, isolated and desperate. But things changed when she used a smartphone app developed specifically for victims, she managed to discreetly reach out for help. The app connected her to a local organization that fights trafficking, which swiftly coordinated with law enforcement agencies to save Maria and provide her with the support she needed to rebuild her life.
One notable example from the movie "Sound of Freedom", is the use of hidden cameras and surveillance technology. Tim Ballard and his team employ covert devices to gather crucial evidence and intelligence, infiltrating trafficking networks and gathering information that can lead to the rescue of victims and the apprehension of perpetrators. These hidden cameras capture harrowing scenes of exploitation, providing undeniable proof of the crimes taking place and serving as vital evidence in legal proceedings.
Another powerful example showcased in the movie is the use of online platforms and social media to raise awareness and facilitate rescue efforts. The film depicts how Tim Ballard's team strategically utilizes social media channels to disseminate information about missing children and potential trafficking cases. By leveraging the power of social networks and online communities, they engage with concerned citizens who may have information or leads, increasing the chances of locating and rescuing victims.
The movie highlights the significance of collaboration and partnerships between technology experts, law enforcement agencies, and non-profit organizations. In one instance, the film portrays how OUR (Operation Underground Railroad) collaborates with tech specialists to develop cutting-edge software tools that can analyze vast amounts of data to identify patterns and potential trafficking operations.
“Sound of Freedom is one of the most well-done documentaries I have ever seen.” says Angela Proffitt, board member of Operation Rose.
Here are some more examples and stories about how technology is used to fight human trafficking, and how they relate to the movie:
Dark Web Investigations: The dark web is the gateway to where human traffickers begin to operate secretly, behind a screen. Just like the character, Ernst Ohinsky, who was initially caught, the agent’s brilliant strategy involved gaining the trust of the pedophile by pretending to be one of them, effectively using reverse psychology. Investigators are experts for a reason — they are skilled manipulators who understand the art of the game.
They think they are invincible. They track down hidden websites and communication channels used by traffickers. By infiltrating these digital spaces, they gather evidence and intelligence to rescue victims.
Machine Learning: By analyzing large amounts of data, authorities can detect suspicious patterns in transportation records, financial transactions, and online activities. For example, when the agent was presented with Teddy Bear’s picture in the manila folder; he locked eyes with that little boy and made up his mind that he was determined to save this little one’s life. That one picture was able to locate him being transported across the border, showcasing the power of machine learning. This helps law enforcement intervene and prevent trafficking incidents; and the perfect place, with traffic and truck stops being recognized as prime locations for traffickers.
Victim Identification: The movie features facial recognition technology and image databases to identify missing or trafficked individuals, such as Teddy Bear and then later leads to the rescue of his older sister who was held hostage on a private island. Yes, such as the one that you are thinking of from the Jeffrey Epstein case. By comparing photographs and facial features, law enforcement agencies and Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) can reunite victims with their families, just like in the movie, the father was lucky enough to get both of his children back.
Online Reporting: Technology enables online reporting systems such as the form located on the Operation Rose website where you can send an anonymous message or tip to be investigated. This local non-profit has also created a process for the hospitality industry to require in-person training once a year for all hotel employees to spot the signs and what to do.
Training and Education: Operation Rose offers the WANT (Workshop Against Neighborhood Trafficking), which is a free training for schools, hotels, and businesses on how to educate, prevent, and combat human trafficking in Middle Tennessee.
Operation Rose, supported by the Nashville Predators Foundation, is offering a FREE 1-hour workshop on human trafficking. Learn the signs and indicators as well as how to prevent trafficking.
At-risk youth, persons experiencing homelessness, and any children under the age of 17 are at a higher risk of becoming victims of human trafficking. Protect your community and children today! Select a day and time that works for you and your organization and Operation Rose will be in contact to confirm your booking. Learn more about Operation Rose at operationrose.org
If you have a tip of suspected human trafficking occurring in your area, please reach out to us at www.operationrose.org and submit a tip, get involved, get your ticket to our next upcoming annual benefit dinner to raise awareness, and become a sponsor of the annual event. Or if you simply want to know more about how you can get involved, feel free to email us here: firstname.lastname@example.org.