Marshall Students Use Open Source Data to Help Stop Sex Trafficking Cases

Feb 20, 2018

A group of Marshall University students, faculty and staff have assisted in stopping child trafficking cases in Latin America. The work was done through a partnership with the nonprofit Operation Underground Railroad.

The work involved sex trafficking cases in Latin America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. Select students in Marshall’s Open Source Intelligence Exchange program worked to provide open source intelligence collection and analysis for law enforcement and other clients. Open source refers to data collection from publicly available sources.

Their partner organization, Operation Underground Railroad assists governments around the world in combating human trafficking cases – particularly those involving children, according to the nonprofit’s website. O.U.R. operatives used intelligence gathered by Marshall students to work undercover investigations.

According to Marshall program director John Sammons, to date, the Marshall effort has assisted in the liberation of almost 40 child trafficking victims in Mexico and Peru, and in the arrest of some 10 suspected traffickers.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.