Friday October 18, 2019
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A Data Project To Predict Human Trafficking Before It Occurs By Corporate Giants

Along with IBM and Western Union, participants include Europol, Europe's law enforcement agency is also included

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Human Trafficking
People protesting against human trafficking and slavery raise their fists during a demonstration in Mexico City. VOA

Computer giant IBM Corp., financial services company Western Union
Co. and European police launched a project Thursday to share financial data that they said may one day be able to predict human trafficking before it occurs.

The shared data hub will collect information on money moving around the world and compare it with known ways that traffickers move their illicit gains, highlighting red flags signaling potential trafficking, organizers said.

“We will build and aggregate that material, using IBM tools, into an understanding of hot spots and routes and trends,” said Neil Giles, a director at global anti-slavery group Stop the Traffik, which is participating in the project.

Human Trafficking
Ethnic Uighur Muslim boy stands inside a police van in Khlong Hoi Khong of southern Songkhla province, Thailand. He was in a group of 200 people rescued from a human trafficking camp. VOA

Data collection, digital tools and modern technology are the latest weapons in the fight against human trafficking, estimated to be a $150 billion-a-year global business, according to the International Labor Organization.

The U.N. has set a goal of 2030 for ending forced labor and modern slavery worldwide, with more than 40 million people estimated to be enslaved around the world.

Certain patterns and suspicious activity might trigger a block of a transaction or an investigation into possible forced labor or sex slavery, organizers said.

The project will utilize IBM’s internet cloud services as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning to compare data and to spot specific trafficking terms, said Sophia Tu, director of IBM Corporate Citizenship.

Human Trafficking
The project will utilize IBM’s internet cloud services

With a large volume of high-quality data, the hub one day may predict trafficking before it happens, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“You can’t do it today because we’re in the process of building out that amount of data and those capabilities, but it’s in the road map for what we want to do,” she said.

While law enforcement is teaming up with banks and data specialists to chase trafficking, experts have cautioned that it can be a cat-and-mouse game in which traffickers quickly move on to new tactics to elude capture.

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Also, less than 1 percent of the estimated $1.5 trillion-plus laundered by criminals worldwide each year through the financial system is frozen or confiscated, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.

Along with IBM and Western Union, participants include Europol, Europe’s law enforcement agency; telecommunications giant Liberty Global; and British banks Barclays and Lloyds, organizers said. (VOA)

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Up to 50 Hate Crimes Are Reported Everyday in London

Up to 50 hate crimes are reported to the police in London every day, adding up to 19,000 in 2018, a City Hall report revealed

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Hate, crime, police, reported, study
Hate crime of any kind cannot be tolerated and we need to ensure that all Londoners can live without physical or verbal prejudice. Pixabay

Up to 50 hate crimes are reported to the police in London every day, adding up to 19,000 in 2018, a City Hall report revealed on Monday.

With offences on the rise since 2011, the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee published a new report calling for more action from London Mayor Sadiq Khan to tackle hate crime in the capital.

The report shows homophobic hate crime reported to London’s Metropolitan Police is up 81 per cent and racist and religious hate crime is up 107 per cent since 2011, Xinhua news agency reported.

The study also shows disability hate crime is up 215 per cent and transphobic hate crime is up 261 per cent.

Most of the hate crime the police record is classed as racist and religious hate crime. In 2018, there were over 16,500 racist and religious hate crime offences.

Apart from the Metropolitan Police, other police services in London are also recording an increase in hate crimes.

British Transport Police (BTP) said that in London in 2018-19, it recorded 2,064 hate crime offences, a slight increase on the previous year.

Around one in four of the offences are committed against railway staff and over half are reported on London Underground trains, said the report.

It said hate crime is recorded across all parts of London, but many offences are concentrated within a few boroughs. Westminster, Camden, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Barnet regularly appear in the top five boroughs for the different strands of reported hate crime.

Spikes in racist and religious hate crime also occurred following events like the EU referendum and London Bridge attack, the report added.

Hate, crime, police, reported, study
Most of the hate crime the police record is classed as racist and religious hate crime. In 2018, there were over 16,500 racist and religious hate crime offences. Pixabay

London Assembly member Unmesh Desai, who chairs the committee, said: “These statistics are alarming and not representative of the vast majority of people living in the capital.

“Hate crime of any kind cannot be tolerated and we need to ensure that all Londoners can live without physical or verbal prejudice.”

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Desai said organisations working across London to tackle hate crime and support victims are faced with a growing number of victims that need help.

The London Assembly Police and Crime Committee called on the Mayor to strengthen efforts to tackle hate crime to ensure that victims can access the support they need. (IANS)