New app aims to stop sex trafficking

11 decades 9 years 8 months ago Friday, December 29 1899 Dec 29, 1899 Friday, December 29, 1899 11:00:00 PM CST December 29, 1899 in News
By: Lauren Donovan, KOMU 8 News

MAPLEWOOD - As part of an effort to end sex trafficking, Molly Hackett, the principal of Nix, a meeting planning firm in Maplewood, teamed up with a group of engineers at Washington University in St. Louis to create a smart phone app aimed at combatting sex trafficking. 

The free app, TraffikCam, has users take four pictures of their hotels rooms. Those photos are then sent to a police data base where law enforcement uses them to match ads soliciting customers for sex deals online. 

The idea came to Hackett after working with a client involved in a social justice organization aimed at ending sex trafficking. 

"We realized the demand for information and education and assistance was really taking off," she said. 

Hackett soon founded the Exchange Initiative, a website which provides information on resources to end sex trafficking. A story on the website, published by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, caught the eye of Abby Stylianou of Washington University.

The app has been downloaded by an estimated 75 thousand smart phone users and contributes to a data base of roughly 1.5 million images.

"It took off in interesting places, not just in the world of social justice, the technology interest has been so high," Hackett said. 

She describes herself as someone who rarely uses apps.

"For the non-app savvy its right up your alley," Hackett said.

The app requires users take four photos and input the name of the hotel and the room number. To ensure the privacy of users none of the pictures will save to the phone and any information shared is anonymous. 

"This will never be a cocktail conversation, its something people don't want to talk about, its something hard to wrap your head around," Hackett said. "Even now, when we introduce the topic to people, you can see them take a step backwards, I mean its physically appalling to think that its happening." 

The app is currently in a new beta testing phase and TraffikCam hopes it can expand the police collaboration element. But, for now, Hackett said her goal is to get the conversation going.

 

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA — The Columbia community came together Thursday night to remember the life of a Columbia College student killed in... More >>
1 hour ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 8:55:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - For the third straight year, the Capitol Avenue Historic District in Jefferson City is considered a "Place... More >>
1 hour ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 8:22:47 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is sending highway patrol troopers and other state workers to St. Louis... More >>
2 hours ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 7:29:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
WILLIAMSBURG — A woman running for a seat in the U.S. Congress said Callaway County Sheriff's Department wrongfully searched her... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 6:39:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - For investigators, finding Megan Schultz's likely remains in the Columbia landfill after only eight days of searching was... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 6:36:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — In an earlier story we discussed the difference between weather and climate . While they’re not the same... More >>
3 hours ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 6:20:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in Continuous News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri health officials say the state has recorded its first vaping-related death. The Missouri... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 4:05:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- One Columbia neighbor was left feeling uneasy Thursday after a burglary resulted in a death on her street. ... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 4:03:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
BOONVILLE - The Boonville Police Department took 30-year-old Johnathan Todd into custody on Thursday for possession of meth, marijuana, prescription-controlled... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 3:58:53 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
FULTON – Fulton community members and business owners are coming together to show their support for a family and their... More >>
7 hours ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 2:56:00 PM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A federal judge has denied a request by Missouri to allow a ban on abortions after... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 10:21:00 AM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Jurors ruled against a teacher who alleged that she was fired from a Catholic school in... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 10:15:51 AM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
IBERIA - Police are investigating a threat of mass violence made by a student in Iberia R-V School District. ... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 9:53:00 AM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - An Illinois man drowned at the Lake of the Ozarks Wednesday afternoon after falling into the water.... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 Thursday, September 19, 2019 9:40:00 AM CDT September 19, 2019 in News
Global warming has often been used interchangeably with climate change. Well, they shouldn’t be, because they do not describe the... More >>
23 hours ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 10:50:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in Climate
COLUMBIA - Longtime MU professor and musicologist Dr. Michael Budds wiped tears from his eyes as MU alumna Symonne... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 8:29:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
BELLE - After the bodies of 4-year-old Bentlee Turner and 37-year-old Jason Burton were found on Monday night, the community... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 7:42:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Flu shots are now available from the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services (PHHS). ... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 6:26:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 79°
10pm 77°
11pm 76°
12am 75°
1am 75°