Today is anti-slavery day, raising awareness of a widespread and underreported crime type. The Home Office estimates 13,000 people are believed to be in some form of modern slavery in the UK, although the actual figure is probably much higher. In the UK we have the Modern Slavery Act, a new Anti-Slavery Commissioner and additional training for law enforcement, so the political will is there and different business sectors need to look at how slavery can be removed from supply chains.
Back in June techUK helped facilitate a conference looking at the scale of the problem and where tech deployment can make a difference. The report which can be read here highlights how digital transformation of law enforcement at the borders and in source/transit countries can go a long way to tackling offenders and how readily available ICT can support victims and help NGOs working with the most vulnerable do their job better.
The report also looks at how new and emerging technologies such as blockchain can improve supply chain transparency by tracing goods, workers papers, materials and food chains. Having this information in a blockchain means anomalies and illegal conduct will be traceable.
Analytics and Artificial Intelligence can help law enforcement map offender routes, identify potential victims and link human trafficking group’s finances and movements to specific offences. In transnational or cross-UK investigations, individual pieces of evidence may be missed and analytics platforms can log incidents and identify, epsecially at borders where dispirate data sets are constantly being collated.
Biometric identity management to help identify and empower victims to protect themselves from exploitation, in particular at border controls. It can also help employers fully understand that an employee is who they say they are and alert authorities if they are at risk.
All these technologies have a role to play, but we need to get some fundamentals right. Data sharing agreements need to be robust to right so information can flow and procurement rules need to help law agencies exploit the best tech available. There also needs to be a better understanding of what exactly technology is available and the sector needs to collaborate a lot more closely than now on mapping this and making it available.