Outsmarting traffickers

Digital intelligence accelerates global efforts to disrupt human trafficking

May 22, 2023
By Paul Jacques

As the digital world enables the increasing spread of human trafficking and exploitation, Cellebrite is further expanding the use of its advanced digital intelligence technology to support law enforcement’s efforts to “outsmart online criminal activity and secure justice for survivors of exploitation”.

It is working with The Exodus Road, an international non-profit organisation focused on disrupting human trafficking, to provide digital intelligence technology to help the National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) Anti-Human Trafficking Division in the Philippines “accelerate justice” in cases of exploitation.

Cellebrite and The Exodus Road are long-standing partners in the fight against human trafficking. Over the years, Cellebrite has equipped The Exodus Road teams and its law enforcement partners with digital intelligence technology that has led to many successful survivor rescues, perpetrator arrests and convictions.

In 2022 alone, Cellebrite technology directly assisted the Brazilian Border Patrol, the Brazilian Federal Police and the Brazilian Ministry of Public Labour in liberating 152 survivors of human trafficking and arresting 20 suspects.

When The Exodus Road identified that the NBI Anti-Human Trafficking Division in the Philippines lacked the advanced technology necessary to stay ahead of the human trafficking activity, Cellebrite provided its UFED Cloud solution, which extracts, preserves and analyses cloud-based content, and its field mobile extraction device, which collects evidentiary data in a forensically sound manner.

Catherine Nolasco, chief of the NBI Anti-Human Trafficking Division, said: “As human trafficking rings become more tech-savvy, we have an obligation to this country to ensure our technology is even more innovative and sophisticated to obtain actionable digital evidence, track digital trails and make digital connections that quickly vindicate victims of human trafficking, online and offline.”

In the first year-and-a-half of its operation in the Philippines, The Exodus Road has assisted Filipino law enforcement in rescuing 128 survivors and arresting 34 traffickers. Its teams continue to witness the increased utilisation of online platforms as a marketplace for exploitation.

Globally, more than 70 per cent of The Exodus Road’s operations resulting in an arrest or rescue in 2022 involved the capture of evidence originating on social media.

“In our commitment to stop human trafficking in the Philippines and around the world, we actively pursue technologies and other tools that can aid our law enforcement partners as they combat the increasingly digital world of trafficking,” said Matt Parker, co-founder and chief strategist at The Exodus Road. “We continually see Cellebrite’s digital intelligence technology directly impacting our partners’ ability to expose exploitation, free survivors and prosecute traffickers.

“Cellebrite’s provision of their most sought-after solutions to NBI in the Philippines will not only accelerate justice but will also protect the integrity of NBI’s work and ours by taking the stand in human-trafficking cases as a third-party voice and leader in digital forensics.”

Arthur Veinstein, president of Cellebrite International, said: “Cellebrite recognises the urgency, priority and challenges of anti-trafficking work, for all those on the ground fighting this fight every day.

“Our mission is to ensure that we provide the most accurate, effective and ethically sound digital intelligence technology to entities like Exodus Road and NBI so they can keep doing the essential work they do faster and better.”

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