The genesis of Spotlight started after we conducted a sex trafficking Survivor Survey in 2012, seeking to learn directly from victims how technology was used throughout their trafficking situation. We found that sixty-three percent of underage sex trafficking victims reported they had been bought or sold online. Armed with this data, we worked with our technology partners and law enforcement to understand how these existing digital footprints could assist law enforcement in faster victim identification. Hopeful that investigators could use technology to identify victims more quickly, we tested an early version of a potential tool among key agencies with promising results. So much so that we launched Spotlight nationwide in October 2014.
Spotlight Makes an Impact on Human Trafficking Investigations
We recently asked human trafficking investigators and prosecutors how Spotlight has impacted their investigations within the last 12 months – here are a few highlights:
“It is the Google Search for combating human sex trafficking. I get results fast allowing me to to gather important evidence and information in minutes compared to hours.”
– Investigator, New York
“Spotlight is a force multiplier at every stage of the operation. We can use this tool to gather intelligence and plot trends prior to conducting an operation, during the operation we can allocate resources effectively and tighten our investigative vision to have the greatest immediate impact, and following this operation we can couple Spotlight with information gathered in interviews to develop a more complete picture of the scope of Human Trafficking in our area.”
– Special Agent, Hawaii
Just within the last 12 months investigators reported:
- 7,422 Spotlight assisted investigations
- Spotlight assisted in the identification of 1,980 children and over 2,186 traffickers
Finding More Victims, Faster
Officers who login weekly report a time savings of 60% in their human trafficking investigations. These recent survey results confirm our initial hypothesis that Spotlight has indeed been an asset for law enforcement in earlier victim identification, collaboration and productivity.
The success of Spotlight would not be possible without the countless hours that investigators spend looking for our kids; the technology partners who influenced and encouraged its development and our donors. For more information about the impact of Spotlight, check out the infographic below.