But if a would-be buyer signals an intent to purchase sex, the bot pivots sharply into a stern message.“Buying sex from anyone is illegal and can cause serious long term harm to the victim, as well as further the cycle of human trafficking,” goes one such message.
“Details of this incident will be reviewed further and you may be contacted by law enforcement for questioning.” The warning can vary based on the conversation, if, for example, a potential buyer expresses an interest in someone underage.
So far, the chatbot has exchanged 14,000 messages with nearly 1,000 people who responded to the planted ads.
In about half those cases it heard enough to deliver a warning message.“If law enforcement perform stings in a city they might get a few dozen people, but we know there have to be thousands and thousands of guys out there looking to buy sex,” says Robert Beiser, executive director of Seattle Against Slavery.
chatbots to businesses as a way to keep customers coming back for more.
Ms Kuyda says bots like this will help people with the grieving process, and says that the bot does indeed sound like her late friend.
“It’s really accelerated our ability to reach people,” says Amanda Hightower, executive director of nonprofit Real Escape from the Sex Trade, or REST.
The new tools arrive as nonprofits and law enforcement devote more attention to stifling the demand that leads to sex trafficking.
It harvests phone numbers from real online sex ads, and automatically sends messages to sex workers offering support or assistance getting out of the trade.
Responses are routed to an experienced nonprofit employee or volunteer.