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Symposium for a Safer Hawaii – Stop Child Trafficking

Symposium for a Safer Hawaii – Stop Child Trafficking Security technology companies, law enforcement agencies join forces to address global child sex trafficking issue


HONOLULU—Integrated Security Technologies (IST) recently hosted its annual Symposium for a Safer Hawaii, bringing security technology companies and law enforcement agencies together to address a problem that has now become a global issue – child sex trafficking.

IST Co-Founder Andrew Lanning and his wife, IST President Christine Lanning, brought an estimated 100 attendees – guests, vendors and presenters – to the Pacific Club in Honolulu for a daylong symposium to discuss how law enforcement and security technology could come together and rescue victims of human trafficking, now estimated to be 25 million worldwide, according to the International Labor Organization.

“Our symposium has always been a technology show in the past, but this year blending it with a criminal concern like child sex trafficking changes the perspective of the role of security personnel in the business community from focusing solely on their own issues to their broader responsibilities as security people within the community,” Andrew Lanning told Security Systems News.


ISTThe symposium got underway on Sept. 29, 2022, with a keynote address by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of Hawaii, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and the Western Pacific Islands, John F. Tobon.

SAC Tobon gave an insightful account of the Pacific-wide human trafficking problem, noting that the demand side of this criminal activity as one of the challenges law enforcement agencies have little control over.

“It was clear that this symposium audience had not thought much about child sex trafficking as they leaned into the conversation,” Andrew Lanning said. “Hearing firsthand about the pervasiveness of these crimes audibly inspired the security passion of everyone in the room. The buzz was just beginning.”

Next, an experienced panel of industry leaders - Zenitel’s Dan Rothrock, LenelS2’s John Bohr, Milestone’s Hunter Robinson, and Axis Communications’ Sam Rodgers - took up an all-aspects discussion of “Facility Command and Control,” from technical design, budgeting, ergonomics, stakeholders, redundancy, and best-use cases to downside issues and avoidable problems they have observed during their years of field experience. 

“We watched the various Hawaii critical infrastructure managers scribbling notes furiously during this session, and hopefully leveraging the discussion content for their upcoming 2023 budget increase arguments,” Andrew noted.

Disruptive Technology Trends

Shifting the technical gears up a notch, during a session entitled “Disruptive Technology Trends,” Lisa Bradshaw wowed the audience with some footage of Evolv Technology's weapons detection system throughput in action.

“This is an important topic in Hawaii due to the recent changes in federal gun laws and upcoming changes to Hawaii’s firearms carry permitting laws,” Andrew explained. “Evolv is already enjoying implementation adoption in Honolulu, a trend we expect to increase indefinitely in the islands.”

Gary Thomas kept the attendees guessing about the power of the possibilities in their own operations with his demonstration of Camio’s natural language search engine for video surveillance.

As Thomas told Security Systems News, “I mentioned how companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Google solved existing problems in new ways and simplified the user experience. Camio's natural language search engine for video solves a lot of the same use cases for security and safety as other AI vendors, but we’re making it simpler and more practical, much like Google did with a simple Search Box that made Yahoo Search Directories obsolete 20 years ago. Our focus on ease of use and speed - using AI, an open, cloud-native infrastructure, and standard IP cameras - make Camio a disruptor in the space.”

Andrew added, “Now there’s no reason you can’t search live or recorded video and find what you need with the same 50-millisecond response you’ve come to expect from your favorite internet browser. This toolset is truly a game-changer, and the audience couldn’t really get enough of it.”

Thomas cited the importance of collaborating with law enforcement agencies and security integration companies such as IST in rescuing victims of child sex trafficking.

“Camio's real-time video search and alerting platform is a powerful tool to enhance the search and rescue of abducted children,” he explained. “Camio provides services like people/vehicles/color/direction detection and OCR (optical character recognition) with real-time alerts on any device for fast event triage and investigation. Video insights from private, as well as public, cameras have the power to create safer cities and towns.

“For example, when a bomb exploded in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning 2020, Camio customers located near the epicenter used their street-facing cameras to help law enforcement with the investigation. Within two minutes, they found video of the RV's path and shared links to possible gateway vehicles and co-conspirators with investigators. With Camio, both private and public sector cameras can be marshaled in a coordinated response to sex trafficking investigations and other crimes. Quick visual communication among federal, state and local agencies enables rapid, collaborative response to public safety issues. Technology can help correct a long-standing imbalance of power in open societies – where a few bad actors exercise outsized impact on the public ‘soft-target’ majority.”

Afternoon Sessions

IST clients, partners, and community security organizations’ tabletop luncheon discussions were clamoring with discussion, as was the technology demo floor, but that lunchtime energy was quickly reined in by Tammy Bitanga’s trafficking survivor story.

During her session, “Where Palm Trees Sway,” Bitanga’s willingness to share her experience, and the repurposing of her “victim” self into the advocacy and community outreach coordinator she has become, stirred the passion of every security professional, every parent, every family, and every responsible citizen in the audience.

“Tammy’s presentation was truly a showstopper, but she would be the first to say that show must go on, and wow, did it ever,” Andrew said.

Jessica Munoz, the CEO of Ho’ola Na Pua, Hawaii’s only child sex trafficking victim shelter, then moderated a panel of law enforcement human trafficking experts from the FBI, HSI, NCIS, and the Honolulu Police Department.

“Human Trafficking: Law Enforcement Challenges” was a no-holds-barred look into what these law enforcement agents work through daily to combat criminal human exploitation, including the sexual trafficking of children.

“Of note, federal law prosecutes crimes against children up to 17 years and 364 days, while in many states, younger ages of consent can hamper local law enforcement efforts. It’s why these agencies all work so closely together,” Andrew explained. “The agents resoundingly encouraged everyone to engage and remain engaged with the authorities in your area through partnership groups such as InfraGard, and to report, no matter how small, suspicious behavior relating to suspected criminal activity.”

MagosAndrew Lanning, Yaron Zussman of Magos Systems, and Bart Beavers of NEC National Security Systems wrapped up the symposium with some thoughtful discussion about the future of security and its role in the planned safer cities of the future.

During “Safer Cities: The Future of Security,” Beavers shed some light on the volume of R&D occurring within the NEC ecosystem, as well as their various AI applications already making an appearance in communities around the United States. “NEC is engaging academia, government, and commercial ventures to speed their time to market for the amazing array of technologies in their development portfolio,” Andrew noted.

Zussman brought global visibility to safer city challenges that are already being solved outside of the United States, and predicted that the adoption of robotics, drones, and the power of automated AI applications would work their way through the steeper regulatory hurdles that the U.S. has created to the benefit of our communities in the coming years. 

Lanning posited some highly debatable questions surrounding privacy and consent and offered that those concerns could derail the potential benefits that security applications might bring to safer cities of the future. 

“Everyone agreed that we have much work to do in order to build and maintain trust in our security technology deployments if we’re going to lower friction and increase freedom for everyone in the communities of our future,” Andrew said.

Closing Thoughts

When asked what he thought of the symposium, Thomas replied, “The IST Symposium was a great success. IST’s inclusion of a sex trafficking discussion with panelists from the FBI, HSI, NCIS and the Office of the Attorney General and led by Jessica Munoz was extremely educational. They spoke to the challenges that law enforcement agencies have trying to help sex trafficking victims and provided insight on how easy it is for predators to connect with children/teenagers via social media. As a father of three daughters, this was powerful to hear. Additionally, Tammy Bitanga gave a very emotional presentation from her first-hand perspective as a victim.”

Andrew Lanning noted, “It was a massive success. I always ask the room at the end if they learned something new, and the response was a resounding yes. Many attendees went out of their way to tell me that it was the best show we’ve ever put on.”

Christine Lanning added, “Our vision - Leading Hawaii to a Safer Place - is a responsibility we don’t take lightly. We do that by educating our staff and our customers, but also the broader community. That is what this symposium was all about – a safer Hawaii. We were thrilled to be back in person. What started in 2014 has become quite the tradition of educating those who don’t normal travel to the mainland to attend the big security shows on the latest and greatest of technologies.”


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