Travel alert: Why you should take a picture of your hotel room

Travel alert: Why you should take a picture of your hotel room
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Taking just a few pictures of your hotel room could help police fight sex trafficking.

Traffickers often post photographs of their victims posed in hotel rooms for online ads, which can be key evidence to find and prosecute the criminals.

But authorities must be able to determine exactly where the photos were taken.

Read more: 5 annoying hotel fees you should never pay

Pictures of your hotel room could help stop sex trafficking

The free app TraffickCam allows users to upload up to four photos of their hotel room. Investigators can then search a database to compare the photos to ones used in trafficking ads.

The app was developed by the Exchange Initiative and researchers at Washington University in St. Louis.

On its website, the group said the hotel database includes 150,000 hotels and more than 1.6 million photos. It’s beta testing the law enforcement portal, with plans to make it available to authorities nationwide soon.


In the meantime, TraffickCam is urging travelers in the U.S. and around the world to continue uploading photos of their hotel rooms for future use by police investigators. 

To use the app, enter the hotel name, room and upload up to four pictures without people in them.

Read more: This is all that a thief needs to access your hotel room… and it’s not your room key

Screen grab TraffickCam app

TraffickCam said it does not store any personally identifying information other than the phone’s GPS location, which is used to confirm the user’s location when uploading photos. 

If you’re worried about privacy, some users have suggested sending the pics immediately before checking out.

Read more: 7 things to avoid touching in a hotel room


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