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home : news : state news free August 19, 2017

5/15/2017 2:00:00 PM
ISU student fights human trafficking

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois State University computer science major has been working with a Nebraska-based initiative to fight human trafficking. 

The Pantagraph ( ) reported Matt Price has been doing programming work for the Human Trafficking Initiative for about 1  1/2 years. 

Price said human trafficking is “when somebody gets coerced into selling their bodies.” 

“It’s a good issue to get involved in and a good opportunity to work in programming,” he said. “It’s taken off since I started.”

His sister, Crysta Price, started working on the issue five years ago as a research project at Creighton University in Omaha. She is now co-director of the initiative, which is the research arm of the Nebraska Human Trafficking Task Force. 

Crysta focuses on data science while Price is responsible for programming that scans online data. 

Part of the challenge is to develop algorithms that can make connections between ads and the people behind them while also developing a uniform approach for identifying who is a likely trafficking victim, how prevalent it is and where it is taking place, said Terry Clark, Matt Price’s supervisor and initiative co-director.

“We felt like we were spinning our wheels until Matt came on,” Clark said. 

Price is working to create a platform where law enforcement agencies can access leads. He said a platform for Nebraska may be operational within a month. He was to graduate from the university on Saturday and plans to continue working full-time at the initiative.

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