Five Computational Sciences and Informatics PhD students participated in the ExpeditionHacks Hackathon to Combat Human Trafficking last weekend. The students – Armelle Dory (Franklin), Sze-Wing Wong, Swabir Silayi, Gideon Gogovi and Ajay Kulkarni – found it to be a great experience.  They spent over 30 hours straight, working as a team during the event.

The work the students focused on included:
1 – Building an interactive dashboard (R Shiny) that exploited the flow of victims into or out of a particular country. This could help law enforcement understand where to focus efforts when dealing with international trafficking.
2 – Identifying key variables of importance with Random Forest method for initial down select of variables, then 3 classification methods on the top 13 variables (SVM, Naive Bayesian, k-Nearest Neighbors). We found that a key feature in the dataset was the relationship of the recruiter (trafficker) to the victim.
3 – Web scraping internet stories of survivors and using the TFIDF approach to identify trends among the words used when survivors describe their stories.
This could help lead to a pattern in how the crimes occurred
or how the victims escaped.

The Department encourages these types of student team efforts in that they challenge the students to address and possibly solve important issues.

Thank you to Armelle, Sze-Wing, Swabir, Gideon and Ajay!