The Power of Project 1591 Volunteers

Project 1591® has been operational for just over a year and as this skilled volunteer force continues to expand across the world so does the impact here in the United States.  As we celebrate this milestone here are two different ways Project 1591 is being used to disrupt the sex trafficking of women and children in the United States.


The Power of One Volunteer

Traffickers connect with sex buyers online through surface websites, think Craigslist but for people. On average there are 150,000 new escort ads posted on these sites every single day in America [1]. While the sites and the ads are not difficult to find, knowing if the person in the ad is a minor or not is very challenging. Traffickers offer quite a bit of information freely to the public, but most often they will advertise their victims as over the age of 18, regardless of their true age.

Skilled Project 1591 volunteers have the capability for finding and placing a true identity to minors. An example of the power of just one, is that we have an international volunteer that has successfully identified four underage victims being advertised online, in a matter of four months since joining the Project 1591 platform.


Why is finding minors important?

Besides the obvious fact that no child should ever be sold for sex and forced to endure the abuse associated with being trafficked, action is more easily taken when a minor is involved. By law force, fraud or coercion must be proven by law enforcement in a trafficking case, unless the person is a minor. Proving a trafficking case for someone over the age of 18 years comes with more challenges and requirements for the judicial system. These challenges can delay action.

However, when a child is identified through this process and passed to our law enforcement partners, action is more immediate.

Project 1591 is inspired by the portion of the law (18 U.S. Code § 1591) that protects children from being sold for sex. Seeing the power of one skilled volunteer, using free tools accessible to anyone, identifying multiple minors proves that this process and platform are working to make an impact on the lives of children having to endure this horrific level of abuse.

The potential impact for good on the lives of countless women and children as this volunteer force grows is encouraging.


The Power of Many Volunteers

The Project 1591 process allows volunteers to donate their skills and expertise whenever it is convenient for them. Each volunteer donates their time as it is available, this means the number of victim identifications can ebb and flow as peoples’ lives get busy or they have more free time to give.

Upstream Intelligence, a company that specializes in complex investigations including forensics, due-diligence, locates, threat-actor unmasking, and anonymity services across the globe recognized that they have the ability to make an even bigger impact. Built upon a tight-knit cadre of in-house intelligence professionals ranging from surveillance operatives to OSINT experts, they are actively encouraging their employees to donate their time and expertise.

Once a quarter this company incentivizes their employees through a company reward program to spend a paid day volunteering for us. Each of these employees have been vetted through the Project 1591 platform and in total this year they have collectively identified 26 victims across 10 states in just 2 days.  Their efforts have saved Guardian Group and law enforcement 128 investigative hours thus far.

The Project 1591 platform has a leader board, that allows volunteers to track their individual or the community wide effort, as points are awarded for vetted pieces of information. Rumor has it that these Upstream days get a bit competitive as these employees work to gain more points than their coworkers. This crime is difficult to stare at, the realities can be difficult to stomach. Through this gamification piece the employees of Upstream are finding a way to find some joy in this hard work.

Upstream Intelligence recognized as a company that they employ people with the right skill set to make a lasting impact nationwide. They are fully embodying the belief that we can harness the power of many to find the vulnerable.

This is one company making a huge impact, imagine the potential if multiple companies followed suit.


How do I get involved?

Are you passionate about seeing domestic sex trafficking stopped?

Are you willing to dedicate your free time to protecting children?

Do you have some level of Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) skills and are willing to put them towards a good cause?

You’re the perfect fit.

Head on over to Project 1591®! The first-ever 24/7 crowdsourcing process and platform that enables volunteers to become force multipliers to Guardian Group’s mission of illuminating child victims of sex trafficking in the United States.

Volunteer today and make a life saving impact on a victim’s life.


Do you work for a company similar to Upstream Intelligence?

Take the Project 1591 opportunity to your leadership. You can connect them to and our team is more than willing to carry the conversation about the potential impact you and your coworkers could have by coming alongside us.


ATTENTION Active U.S. Law Enforcement

Every Publicly Available Information Report (PAIR) the Project 1591 volunteer force and Guardian Group produces is a free resource for you with the intent of saving you time researching and identifying potential victims. These reports contain the identified individual and valuable account information that can be used by you to identify force, fraud, or correction if sex trafficking is occurring.

Sign up for your state-wide distribution email list here.


Together we are harnessing the power of many to find the vulnerable!




[1] Thorn (2018, January). Survivor Insights: The Role of Technology in Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking [PDF].