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Human-Centered Approach to Technology to Combat Human Trafficking

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This thesis describes the author’s in-depth, user-centered design study aimed at addressing the need to reduce the number of potential leads that law enforcement agencies need to review as they work to intervene and prevent human trafficking.


This paper addresses the need for tools to efficiently sift through the vast quantities of online data regarding potential leads that law enforcement must review in order to stop human trafficking, with the goal of reducing the number of potential leads that a law enforcement agency can deal with. While some tools and prior research do exist for this purpose, none of these tools adequately address law enforcement user needs for information visualizations and spatiotemporal analysis. Therefore, this thesis contributes an empirical study of technology and human trafficking. It describes the author’s in-depth qualitative interviews, systemic literature analysis, and a user-centered design study. The research outlines the challenges and design considerations for developing sociotechnical tools for anti-trafficking efforts. This work further contributes to the greater understanding of the prosecution efforts within the anti-trafficking domain and concludes with the development of a visual analytics prototype that incorporates these design considerations.

Date Published: January 1, 2022