Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

Facebook is teaming up with the New York Attorney General’s office to crack down on online sex trafficking

May 18, 2016

As publish in the Wall Street Journal on October 8, 2015.

Facebook is teaming up with the New York attorney general’s office to crack down on online sex trafficking.

The goal of the partnership is to use technology to identify both perpetrators and victims, especially child victims, on websites that post ads for paid sex, according to the attorney general’s office. The office says it will work with Facebook engineers to analyze patterns in the postings’ text and photos, including identifying missing children who appear in the ads.

The initiative is expected to be announced Thursday by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at a national human-trafficking summit in New York City.

In 2013, Mr. Schneiderman’s office arrested three members of a sex trafficking ring that operated throughout New York state and allegedly recruited women, including girls as young as 15 years old, to work as prostitutes. All three have pleaded guilty to various human trafficking and prostitution promotion charges, his office said.

The issue was also in the national spotlight this year after the Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill aimed at providing more support for human-trafficking victims and boosting law enforcement’s ability to target alleged perpetrators who purchase sex.

Mr. Schneiderman’s office has had a longstanding relationship with Facebook. The two partnered up earlier this year in an initiative that sent alerts for missing children to Facebook users’ news feeds. Last year, Facebook and Instagram worked with the office to remove user posts that promoted illegal gun sales, part of a broader gun-safety initiative.