Business challenge

Information about human trafficking comes from diverse sources, from local news and the web to official reports. STOP THE TRAFFIK needed to turn this information into actionable intelligence.


With IBM i2 software, STOP THE TRAFFIK can visually analyze human trafficking trends and hotspots. It uses this information to target awareness programs that ultimately help disrupt human trafficking.



trafficking hotspots and routes using a wealth of multidimensional analyses


trafficking at the source via awareness campaigns that target local activity


efficiency and simplifies sharing by replacing spreadsheets with visual analysis

Business challenge story

Using intelligence to bring a global problem to light

The third largest criminal industry in the world brings in more than USD 32 billion in revenue, affects millions of men, women and children around the globe—and is largely invisible. It’s modern slavery, which includes human trafficking, servitude and forced labor. One of the greatest obstacles to defeating this crime is the lack of visibility into its inner workings and the extent of its networks, many of which cross international borders.

STOP THE TRAFFIK is a nonprofit organization founded in the United Kingdom, with branches in the United States, Australia, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, India, Brazil and Kenya, that works globally with a rich partner network to end modern slavery and human trafficking. On one front, it aims to build resilient communities by creating awareness of the problem, providing resources to help people spot the signs of trafficking and take action, and when appropriate, contact law enforcement. A parallel focus is to educate large businesses on how to increase transparency and take labor slavery out of their supply chains.

A force driving these efforts is information gathered and analyzed by the organization’s Centre for Intelligence-Led Prevention. “We know that slavery is very comfortably in our communities. It taints what we eat, what we wear, what we build and do—and it’s all driven by money,” says Neil Giles, Director of the Centre.

The Centre’s staff and volunteers scour the web for trafficking-related news reports, court cases, social media mentions, research and other information. Data also comes from reports issued by the United Nations, law enforcement and governments as well as other NGOs. To get data directly from the community, STOP THE TRAFFIK launched THE STOP APP, a mobile app that can be downloaded by any individual in the world and used to share information about a situation they believe may be linked to human trafficking or modern slavery.

Faced with large volumes of disparate data, Centre analysts were challenged to transform it into usable intelligence. The spreadsheets they employed were not up to the task of the deep analysis required to uncover trends and hidden patterns. Nor were they able to present results in a way that could be easily understood by non-specialists at STOP THE TRAFFIK and in the community.

We can search for hotspots and trends using a variety of the functions built into the i2 Analyst’s Notebook software.

Sarah Brown, Lead Analyst, Centre for Intelligence-Led Prevention, STOP THE TRAFFIK

Transformation story

Visually analyzing human trafficking networks

Today STOP THE TRAFFIK uses IBM® i2® intelligence analysis software to uncover global hotspots and trends in human trafficking and slavery. By importing location-based trafficking data into the IBM i2 Analyst’s Notebook visual analysis environment, analysts can see clusters of activity that would not be revealed by traditional analysis.

“We can search for hotspots and trends using a variety of the functions built into the i2 Analyst’s Notebook software,” says Sarah Brown, Lead Analyst at the Centre for Intelligence-Led Prevention. “One example of the multidimensional analysis,” she adds, “is the histogram function, which helps us really hone in on the countries and towns that are showing up the most regularly.”

Analysts can then work with the software to drill down on those locations and add attributes that enrich the analysis, using icons and color coding to visualize that data as well. Integration with third-party mapping software makes it even easier for stakeholders to see where traffickers are working, and the maps themselves are easily copied into documents for sharing.

“The attributes we put on those locations will give us information regarding the type of exploitations, recruitment methods and how people are transported if they have been moved,” Sarah Brown says. “We can use directional lines to show where people who are being trafficked are starting from and where they are going. This kind of visualization is so much more helpful than giving one of our stakeholders a spreadsheet, and that’s key to us.”

For example, STOP THE TRAFFIK uncovered a specific trafficking route that begins in Nigeria, runs through Libya and ends up in Italy. Deeper analysis spotlighted more specific hotspots along the route within those countries. The organization used that information to mount a social media campaign targeting eight locations along the route, bringing the problem to light specifically in communities affected by it.

We are encouraging the financial world to overlay our hotspot and trend data with their transactional data to help connect human trafficking and slavery with money-laundering activity.

Neil Giles, Director, Centre for Intelligence-Led Prevention, STOP THE TRAFFIK

Results story

Disrupting human slavery at the source

The initial geo-targeted social media campaign was launched across all eight hotspots on the Nigeria-Libya-Italy trafficking route, backed by community resources developed in six local languages to provide tangible options for individuals to take action. The response in Benin City, Nigeria—the starting point for the identified route—made it clear that human trafficking is endemic within the city. A second post was targeted to young women (aged 13 – 28) within the city, the demographic identified as most at risk of being trafficked.

The campaign overall reached 1.4 million people and experienced a very high 5.36 percent click-through rate. More importantly, it generated 48 unique pieces of actionable intelligence that could, where appropriate, be shared with local law enforcement or other relevant organizations. And a partner network was engaged to generate targeted action relevant for each hotspot, which is actively working towards a coordinated effort to build resilient communities.

Should an indication arise that a specific individual or individuals are at risk—that they are being recruited or are in transit—the Centre will switch gears and use i2 Analyst’s Notebook software to focus on people rather than locations. The intent is to help law enforcement locate and rescue those individuals at risk.

“In one case we came up with quite a complicated chart that we eventually took to a financial institution,” Neil Giles says. The institution issued suspicious activity reports in 16 different countries, which led to multiple law enforcement investigations that significantly disrupted the sex work industry in Belgium for several months.

“Slavery is about money and nothing else, and that money does hit financial institutions at some point,” Neil Giles says. ”We are encouraging the financial world to overlay our hotspot and trend data with their transactional data to help connect human trafficking and slavery with money-laundering activity.”

Specific industries and parts of the world are also “hot spots” for exploitation and forced labor: the cotton, cocoa and coffee industries, and the fisheries in the Far East, in particular. “We’ve been working with a range of businesses to help them do risk assessment in their supply chains by overlaying our ever-growing map of hot spots and trends,” says Neil Giles. The Centre for Intelligence-Led Prevention provides the mapping and visualizations to this arm of STOP THE TRAFFIK.

“Overall,” says Sarah Brown, “using IBM i2 intelligence analysis software has made looking at large data sets from multiple sources much more efficient than trying to use spreadsheets for analysis. The platform has also brought a welcome degree of discipline over data management.”

“We are beginning to see strategic results from using i2 intelligence analysis software to inform the community campaigns we are doing,” says Neil Giles, pointing to a campaign that used Facebook to bring attention to a local forced labor problem in one California community.

“Over a period of about ten days, with just two posts, we know that we reached 43 percent of the population through shares, and we had a click-through rate to view our video of 4 percent—which well exceeds the average response rate for advertising,” says Neil Giles, adding that viewers watched 10 seconds of an 18 second video. The campaigns are also picking up new casework opportunities that are forwarded to law enforcement.

“It’s enlivening communities to begin to take ownership of the problem for themselves, which is our aim. We are beginning to be very encouraged by what we see.”

We are beginning to see strategic results from using i2 Analyst’s Notebook software to inform the community campaigns we are doing.

Neil Giles, Director, Centre for Intelligence-Led Prevention, STOP THE TRAFFIK



STOP THE TRAFFIK is a pioneer in human trafficking prevention. Since 2006, this globally oriented non-profit organization has been helping to prevent trafficking through building resilient communities that can identify and respond to trafficking; sharing knowledge; and helping businesses make their supply chains slavery free. Its Centre for Intelligence-Led Prevention was developed to collect global stories, connect them and build a picture of human trafficking hotspots and trends.

Solution components

  • i2 Intelligence Analysis
  • i2 Intelligence Analysis

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