If you’re on vacation somewhere, and you enjoy uploading photos to Instagram or Facebook to tell all your friends about your hotel room, please take a few more photographs and upload them to TraffickCam, an app that compiles these photos from all over the world to help police stop sex trafficking.
The sad reality is that hotel rooms are used by these lowlives, too: Traffickers post photos or videos of their victims from hotel rooms, for their online ads. We’ll give you a moment to recover from that information, and then tell you that investigators can help track the traffickers’ movements by identifying the hotel rooms in which these photos were shot. This is where you come in.
“The purpose of TraffickCam is to create a database of hotel room images that an investigator can efficiently search, in order to find other images that were taken in the same location as an image that is part of an investigation,” reads the About page on their website.
TraffickCam is accessible both as an app for iOS and Android, and as a website. All it needs is for you to take a couple of photos of your hotel room—make sure there are no people in the photos—and upload on the app or website. They suggest taking a photo of the room from the foot of the bed, and one of the bathroom from the entryway. A photo of the entire room from a corner would be helpful, too. Enable your location services while you’re taking photos with your phone, too, as the geotags is also useful information for the police.
Lastly, tell people about this app. It was designed by the Exchange Initiative in 2015, and it needs as many users as possible to build a comprehensive database of hotel rooms around the world.