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Human Trafficking Identification System (HTIS)

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $493,012)

The FY 2017 Technology Innovation for Public Safety (TIPS) Addressing Precipitous Increases in Crime is designed to enable strategic information sharing across crime-fighting agencies and with identified partnerships to address specific local or regional crime problems. This program is funded under the ‘reserved funds’ section (42 U.S.C. section 3756(b)(1)) of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program. The ‘reserved funds’ section provides that up to 5 percent of the funds available to carry out the JAG Program may be granted for one or more of the purposes specified at 42 U.S.C. section 3751 upon a determination that such a grant is necessary 'to combat, address, or otherwise respond to precipitous or extraordinary increases in crime, or in a type or types of crime'. 42 U.S.C. section 3756(b)(1).

The City of Houston will utilize an internet scraping application developed by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The HPD can now quantify the volume of online solicitation of sex ads directed at the Houston population, from over 200 adult websites. The goal of this application is to leverage the scraping tool and connect the application to HPD’s criminal justice system, Records Management System (RMS), to develop a more robust pattern and link analysis application. By absorbing/scraping and analyzing over 200 known sexual online solicitation websites, the HTIS application will conduct pattern analysis of images and language of the advertisements. In addition, because the application will be linked to the department’s RMS system (read only), an investigator query will result in identification of linked items from both the internet and the RMS.

Date Created: September 26, 2017