In 2018, Vanguard published an article about Joelle Casteix, a renowned child rights advocate. She co-founded an organization called the Zero Abuse Project; this was intended to end the sexual abuse of children.
It was a massive vision. As a founding member and founder, Joelle worked tirelessly on the legal and regulatory aspects of child sexual abuse, but what she had not initially considered was how artificial intelligence would play a role in her work. Even before AI would be unveiled as a tool in her growing strategy kit, she founded another project: Project G.
Project G was created to identify risk factors of predatory behaviors. It wouldn’t only study those who exploit little ones, but also those who play a part in covering up sexual exploitation and over predatory activities. According to Joelle, Project G would become a database of information, cataloging and indexing records of abuse by whole institutions. But Joelle knew she needed one extra step: she needed to make sense of the data collected, and she needed a way to do that.
Serendipitously, Joelle and I would connect. And we would be presented with a way, as I like to say, to use AI for good.
Joelle wanted to make organizations, institutions and facilities safer for children; she dreamed of a way to be able to access important information quickly and accurately. All this time she thought of databases and record keeping. The part I played was to introduce her to AI.
By using artificial intelligence, Project G could finally bring to the surface the risk factors that might threaten the safety of children. It would assist in detecting these risks and serve to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation on a grand scale – no matter the form of exploitation, no matter the place.
Today, beyond Project G, AI can be used to find patterns we never dreamed possible before. Through the use of AI, countless children can, have been and will be protected from abuse, in various corners of the world. We have a clearer picture of the predator and their behaviors, identifying patterns in data we’ve never been able to view in the past.
The numbers continue to grow, but as of the time of the Vanguard publication, we know that 6.6 million children are referred to US state child protective services every year, with over three million of those children investigated.
How many more can we help?