HTI Labs, originating as a university project in 2015 at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, is a pioneering organization that combats human trafficking in the commercial sex industry through data-driven research. By leveraging mathematics, computer science, and international political theory, they’ve developed a theoretical model to identify potential trafficking networks using online commercial sex advertisements. Their mission has grown to address the significant data gap on domestic trafficking, and they’ve partnered with law enforcement agencies across the U.S. to do so.
- Enabling real-time risk assessments, leading to more effective interventions against human trafficking
- Dismantling a major trafficking network marketing nearly 70 women across the U.S.
Initially, HTI Labs faced challenges in accessing online sex advertisements due to the growing sophistication of online advertisers who restricted access to their websites. The manual processes they employed were time-consuming and resource-intensive. To overcome these challenges, they partnered with The Bright Initiative. With the aid of Bright Data’s Web Unlocker tool, HTI Labs could seamlessly access and collect data from these online platforms, ensuring uninterrupted research and analysis.
Bright Data’s Unblocker proxy, provided through the Bright Initiative, has been an indispensable lifeline for our web scrapers. With unimpeded access to the data we need, we’re empowered to make real-time risk assessments and contribute significantly to our fight against sex trafficking. Our gratitude for Bright Data’s unwavering support is immeasurable, as it has been pivotal in propelling HTI Labs toward our mission’s fulfillmentHTI Labs
The collaboration has been transformative for HTI Labs. By automating data collection processes, they are able to identify and dismantle significant trafficking networks, including one that marketed nearly 70 women nationwide. This led to a case that brought a dozen human traffickers to justice. The tools provided have empowered HTI Labs to predict trafficking risks and share high-risk leads with their law enforcement partners, amplifying their impact in the fight against human trafficking.