Booz Allen Data Scientists Participate in Hackathon to End Human Trafficking

Booz Allen Data Scientists Participate in Hackathon to End Human Trafficking

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Friday, February 19, 2016 - 12:00pm

CONTENT: Article

Booz Allen Hamilton hosted the second in its Hackathon for Social Good Series on Saturday, February 6 at the firm’s McLean, VA campus. Nearly 50 Booz Allen data scientists volunteered their time and expertise to explore a variety of data sources and develop automated approaches for mapping networks of illicit massage businesses (IMBs) currently operating in the US. An illicit massage business is one that uses the cover of a legitimate bodywork or massage business to provide commercial sex. Because of how illicit massage businesses function, these venues are primed for traffickers to take advantage and to traffic thousands of women. For this hackathon, Booz Allen partnered with Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery and restore freedom to survivors. 

Polaris works to disrupt human trafficking networks by helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate. To locate potential IMBs, the organization uses information gathered from publicly available data sources – including public records, massage parlor review sites, and records of law enforcement activity. At the Hackathon, data scientists were tasked with examining these public data sources in order to develop new algorithms and gain new insights about human trafficking in the United States.

Selected highlights of their findings are below:

  • By overlaying different data types, scientists revealed an overlap of high crime and prostitution areas with IMBs
  • A Naïve Bayes Classification approach was leveraged to predict whether massage businesses are illicit or legitimate based on registered business names. Using this model, data scientists classified 95 businesses as illicit.
  • By automating the collection of data sources and building a risk identification algorithm, data scientists tracked usernames shared on other social networks or forums to help identify illicit businesses

To learn more about human trafficking and how you can help, visit:

As a company, Booz Allen Hamilton makes it our mission to solve our client’s toughest challenges. We also apply our experience and expertise to making a difference in our communities. The spirit of service is embedded in our culture, and Booz Allen employees are passionate about giving back. When we sign on to help ease some of the burdens in our communities, we’re helping our neighbors, our employees, and working to create a better environment for all of us. Learn more about Booz Allen’s spirit of service

CATEGORY: Education