Human trafficking is a disturbingly widespread problem in the United States, a reality I was largely unaware of prior to joining the Auton Lab. The lab does excellent work in understanding and combating human trafficking, even spinning off a company devoted to it. As part of CMU’s Robotics Institute Summer Scholars (RISS) program, I had the great opportunity to mentor Carl Edwards, whose research focused on analyzing multi-modal data scraped from sex work advertisements online to uncover correlations and patterns that may be indicative of trafficking. The overarching objective of this research is to facilitate the rescue of victims and dismantling of human trafficking organizations. I encourage you to take a look at Carl’s poster in the gallery and you can learn more about his work from his final report (Edwards et al., 2019).

  1. Edwards, C., Wertz, A., & Dubrawski, A. (2019). Using Similarity Measures to Detect Organizations in Online Escort Advertisements. In CMU Robotics Institute Summer Scholars.