In February 2017, Michael Endsor of King’s College London demonstrated how Open Sources can be used in investigations into organised crime. In particular, he noted the use of social media in criminal investigations. By studying hashtags on Twitter and Instagram he was able to discover key individuals within a London based drug gang. The analysis of these sources and related digital data is called Open Source Intelligence (OSINT).

OSINT has been instrumental in identifying organised criminal activities. There is no reason the same methodology cannot be used on a larger scale when investigating Modern Slavery.

As you may have noticed over our past few blogs, Neotas have identified issues associated with Modern Slavery. The Modern Slavery act (read more here) has been a clear step in the right direction. It has, however, brought with it a number of problems regarding a company’s responsibility to ensure they are not employing slave labour. And whilst the debate regarding how companies should be investigating their supply chain continues, there are still thousands of men, women and children affected by Modern Slavery issues.

Supply chain analysis for large scale organisations is a daunting task. In order to present a true reflection of their multi-tiered supply chain with confidence, they must leverage the latest technologies and techniques. OSINT is a tried and tested technique that consistently identifies additional information across a variety of criminal areas. There’s no reason it can’t do the same for Modern Slavery.

However unfortunate it may be, it is only once forward-thinking companies conduct this kind of due-diligence that others will follow.

OSINT techniques improve every day, and with criminals unaware of the power they hold, corporations have a unique opportunity to get ahead of slave traders for the first time.

-Reece Wickens