San Luis Obispo

Combating Human Trafficking



​​Human trafficking is one of the most significant human rights violations of our time. Victims are often physically, mentally, emotionally and economically manipulated, controlled and abused. Human trafficking targets our youth, including college students, preying upon the innocent and vulnerable. It is a public health crisis and is deeply connected to other crimes such as arms and drug trafficking. Human trafficking generates more than $150 billion annually and is becoming the fastest growing crime worldwide. California, being home to some of the nation’s largest cities (San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco), is overwhelmed with curbing demand and assisting victims. It has routinely been the state with the largest number of identified victims and open cases, with the amount increasing every year.

The Trafficking Investigations Hub (TIH) at Cal Poly’s California Cybersecurity Institute (CCI) is uniquely positioned to assess this issue and threat as well as provide the cutting-edge tools, education and training needed to combat this global and local issue. Over the last two years, Cal Poly has created live, immersion-training courses to help equip organizations such as Polaris, a nonprofit that operates the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, and the California Peace Officers Association to fight human trafficking. From video production to data science, many of Cal Poly’s students, faculty, staff and class projects are working to combat the crime. 

This past January, Cal Poly hosted a human trafficking summit on how human trafficking is affecting California. A panel discussion, resource fair, and cyber training for law enforcement were featured. This event provided the public with a deeper understanding of trafficking and provided tools to combat it. It also trained the law enforcement community and IT professionals on how to disrupt human trafficking effectively and sustainably.

Cal Poly’s Danielle Borrelli from the CCI TIH was recently featured in CSU’s “Cybersecurity Needs You” regarding Cal Poly’s efforts to combat human trafficking. “There’s been an uptick in the way that technology has been used to exploit individuals,” Borrelli said. To read the full article, visit https://