Catholic University law school Professor Mary Leary was among the expert panelists invited to present at a Sept. 9 panel sponsored by Microsoft to gather data and insights about the role of technology in child sex trafficking.
Six academic researchers, all funded by grants from the software giant, spent the day at the Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus in Mountain View, Calif., discussing a significant problem that remains largely off the radar of the American public.
According to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Resource Center, the internet has been identified as a primary platform that pimps, traffickers, and johns use to buy and sell children for sex in the United States. But what isn’t well known is exactly how technology facilitates child sex trafficking or how technology can be used to fight it.
Leary contributed an assessment of judicial opinions and the role of technology in child sex trafficking cases at the conference. Fellow panelists discussed some of the insights gained as their research projects progress.
According a statement from Microsoft:
“We are energized by the insights we anticipate will emerge from these researchers’ efforts and look forward to applying the knowledge gained to continue our collaboration with public and private sector leaders to make a substantial difference in the fight against trafficking and child sexual exploitation.“
Leary was awarded a grant from Microsoft in 2012 to examine the use of technology in child sex trafficking cases as demonstrated in published judicial opinions. Her work also explores the acceptance of this digital evidence in courts and whether it differs between state and federal level cases.
Leary is among the nation’s foremost experts on child sex trafficking and related crimes. She recently accepted an invitation from the International Association of Chiefs of Police to serve as an advisory member for its Child Sex Trafficking Toolkit for Law Enforcement Initiative.