Human Trafficking Enforcement in British Columbia: An In-Depth Analysis of Existing Strategies, and Recommendations for New Methods of Combatting Human Trafficking and Organized Crime

Grant Agency: Office of Crime Reduction & Gang Outreach (OCR-GO) - Policing and Security Branch.

Awarded: 2023

Value: $103,315

Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Frank

Co-principal Investigator: Dr. Barry Cartwright

Research Assistants: Karmvir Padda, Sarah-May Strange, Cicilia Zhang, Noelle Warkentin

Description: Our primary mandate is to conduct an exhaustive study/review of the human trafficking/sex trafficking (HT/ST) environment in B.C., investigate its connections to organized crime, and examine B.C.’s enforcement strategies, looking at operational capacities, adequacies (or inadequacies) and gaps in enforcement activities. At the completion of the project, we will deliver a highly detailed final report to the ORC-GO and the RCMP (and subject to the approval of the ORC-GO and the RCMP, also to the other law enforcement agencies that participate in, or contribute to, this study). Our secondary objective is to complete the development of an artificial intelligence/machine learning tool (AI/ML tool) that identifies and alerts to the presence of the type of online language, symbols and images associated with HT/ST, and to deliver a working prototype of this technology to the RCMP, and (again subject to RCMP and ORC-GO approval) with other participating law enforcement agencies.