Honeycomb: An Evolution in Solving the Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking Problem

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Cleo Farah | Research Analyst
Dr Julia Muraszkiewicz | Head of Programme for Human Trafficking and Human Rights

Date: 12 August 2022

You have heard it an endless number of times. Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking (MSHT) are complex crimes with far-reaching consequences, on both the individual and societal level. As a stakeholder, you know that the elusive nature of MSHT makes it difficult to collect useful data and that organisations have resource constraints. You have probably sat in meetings where other stakeholders discussed uncertainties as to what data (and in what format) should be collected to ensure impact. Not to mention the conundrum of sharing data. You may even continue to be surprised that policy still fails to connect modern slavery data to relevant other data, e.g., on homelessness or gender-based violence. But what is the solution? Are we all doomed to live in silos, not share data and not have actionable insights? Will we not disrupt modern slavery and human trafficking and support victims?

If There is a Will, There is a Way

Yes, we are biased because we created it, but we think one solution is the use of our ethical AI application, Honeycomb. Honeycomb – more on the specifics below – grew out of research we have conducted on MSHT since 2014 and expertise we have had with ethics, privacy and data protection since 2004. It is the latter that has allowed us to encourage an array of stakeholders to share data for – and yes, a cliché is coming – the common good. We go beyond a tech-only approach, leveraging our deep expertise and understanding of these challenges to mitigate the usual roadblocks.

We realise that MSHT is a difficult crime to understand, let alone combat. We also know that as a local authority or police force you have a range of priorities. Where Honeycomb can save you time and resources is, amongst other things, showing you how other, more prominent crime types fit into MSHT. Crimes like domestic violence, forced marriage, drug trafficking and organised crime. Understanding how these crimes interlink can provide insight into interventions that address more than just Modern Slavery.

So, what is it? Honeycomb is a cloud-based software application that uses ethical AI to specifically address end user needs regarding responding to MSHT. Here are some examples (and these are just examples) of those requirements:

  • understand the patterns regarding victim needs over time,
  • have a clear picture of the push/pull factors that drive people into exploitation,
  • be able to quickly analyse thousands of documents to find trends e.g., which car wash names keep coming up, or which recruitment agency victims pass through,
  • what are the exact statistics around points of entry for victims of MSHT, how do they change over time and why,
  • what does the granular picture of transport routes look like, including what modes of transport are used,
  • what happens when we overlay high priority locations (e.g., brothels and foodbanks), vulnerable population groups (e.g., asylum seekers and homeless persons) and current societal conditions (e.g., welfare spending and related laws)

Honeycomb can answer these requirements and more, and not just through a series of complicated spreadsheets either. The platform creates attractive visual representations, using maps and graphs, that you can then use for training purposes or as evidence when communicating with stakeholders.

What makes Honeycomb unique, is its localised focus. A true drill down into your area, so that you can allocate your resources economically and effectively.

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