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Josiah Lashley

Using Data Science to Rescue Students From Human Trafficking

B.S., Statistics, 2021

Josiah Lasley with his presentation

Josiah joined the CCI team when he was a second-year Statistics major at Cal Poly, in the spring of 2019. He was the first student hired for a data science role. Throughout the projects that he has worked on, Josiah feels that his biggest accomplishment is his contribution to the Global Emancipation Network’s uniform classifier. The Global Emancipation Network is a non-governmental organization that leverages technology to fight human trafficking.

Josiah has been working on the uniform classifier for his Data Science Senior Capstone. The classifier is meant to stop child sex trafficking in the UK. In child trafficking cases, police may see an image of a child online and they sometimes still have their school uniform on. The uniform classifier uses machine learning to detect if the child is still wearing their uniform, and if so, identifies the color and the logo. Then the classifier uses a UK school uniform database to match it to the school or a few potential schools and pull up the relevant contact information for the schools. Then, the police can contact the schools to ask if they have been missing a child and pinpoint the location the child went missing from. In child trafficking cases, identification of the child and the location from where they went missing can make the case much more likely to be solved and the child rescued.

Josiah has been working on a team of four for the Senior Capstone with Zachary Gelber, Erik Christianson, and Kush Upadhyay. Josiah has specifically contributed much of the data collection, labeling, and manipulation to create the data set for the machine learning model. Since then, he has been programming the model in collaboration with his capstone team.

Josiah will graduate in the summer of 2021 and is currently working as a Threat Hunter Intern at Dragos. Dragos is the main industrial communications systems security, providing cybersecurity services for industrial bases such as nuclear energy, water plants, and coal mines. Josiah met the VP of Dragos, Sergio Caltagirone, at the RSA Conference that he attended through the CCI and through his work with the Global Emancipation Network for which Caltagirone is the Technical Director. Josiah cites his CCI experience as what allowed him to build the skills in cybersecurity and the interest in protecting critical infrastructure that help him in his current position.

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