USC Educator Honored by Mensa for Artificial Intelligence System Combating Human Trafficking

  • Jun 12, 2019

Dual Mensa Foundation awards recognize impact on law enforcement efforts

Mayank Kejriwal
Mayank Kejriwal, winner of the Mensa Foundation’s Intellectual Benefits to Society Award and the Copper Black Award for Creative Achievement

ARLINGTON, TEXAS, July 12, 2019 — For his high-impact artificial intelligence technology combating human trafficking, Mayank Kejriwal is the 2019 winner of the Mensa Foundation’s Intellectual Benefits to Society Award and the Copper Black Award for Creative Achievement. It is only the second time that one Mensan has garnered two Foundation honors in a single awards year.

Dr. Kejriwal, who conducts research in the Center on Knowledge Graphs at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute, developed an AI system — Domain-specific Insight Graphs (DIG) — that has been deployed to more than 200 U.S. law enforcement agencies. DIG is essentially a search engine that finds and downloads sex advertisements to a secure computer, “reads” the ads, and helps law enforcement explore leads with high accuracy.

The International Labor Organization estimates 4.8 million people are trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally, and the advent of the internet has only made the crisis worse. “In my own research, as well as through collaborations with law enforcement and social scientists, I have discovered that sex-related advertisements now number in the billions across almost every major (and minor) city in the U.S. and beyond,” said Dr. Kejriwal, whose work has yielded significant results.

In New York, for example, evidence shows that prostitution arrests investigated for human trafficking activity have gone from less than 1 percent prior to implementation of DIG to more than 62 percent today, with a focus less on punishing victims and more on the endeavors of the “boyfriends.”

“I am a passionate advocate of using AI for social good and for ensuring that the fruits of technological development are distributed to all,” said Dr. Kejriwal, who has degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of Texas, and USC.

The Intellectual Benefits to Society and Copper Black Awards are part of a suite of accolades that honor the Mensa Foundation’s mission to benefit society by inspiring and empowering intellectually gifted people.

# # #

For more than 40 years, the Mensa Education and Research Foundation has advocated for intelligence by providing scholarships, promoting research, championing gifted youth, and empowering educators. Governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees, the Mensa Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization funded by American Mensa, Mensa members, and other charitable donations.