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N.Y. Attorney General, Facebook Team Up To Combat Sex Trafficking

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a Facebook partnership to combat sex trafficking.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a Facebook partnership to combat sex trafficking. Photo Credit: File photo

ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced a new partnership with Facebook to use innovative data and analytical methods to crack down on human trafficking.

The announcement came during the Attorney General’s keynote address at Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s National Summit of Human Trafficking and the State Courts.

The partnership will leverage technology to identify victims of sex trafficking in online advertisements for commercial sex, and pursue the traffickers that engage in this practice of modern day slavery. The initiative will focus mainly on identifying child victims of sex trafficking, including those who are reported as missing.

The partnership will "greatly assist our efforts to bring sex traffickers to justice and return their victims to safety,” said Schneiderman.

Calling sex trafficking an "international crisis," New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said the initiative will enable law enforcement to identify the traffickers and hold them accountable."

"Facebook is pleased to be working with Attorney General Schneiderman on his efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking," said Will Castleberry, Facebook’s director of state public policy.

The Attorney General’s office will work with Facebook to develop algorithms to identify evidence of trafficking in these online advertisements, including pattern analysis of ad language, phone numbers, images, and other data, as well as identification of missing children who appear in advertisements for commercial sex.

Schneiderman’s office is committed to prosecuting sex trafficking, says a press release citing a 2013 instance when the Attorney General’s Organized Crimes Task Force announced the arrest of three members of a sex trafficking ring that operated in Syracuse, Watertown, Ithaca, and elsewhere in New York State. The ring leader preyed on women and girls as young as 15 years old, recruiting them to work for sex.

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