Dogs With A Nose For Electronic Devices Sniff Out Child Sex Traffickers

Madeline Osburn

Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), an organization dedicated to ending child slavery and sex trafficking around the world, is using dogs trained in electronic-storage detection (E.S.D.) to put pedophiles behind bars domestically.

O.U.R. trains and equips local law enforcement to investigate, arrest, and prosecute people who violate children. This year, O.U.R. has provided 10 canines trained in E.S.D. to local law enforcement to “sniff hard drives where criminals are storing their horrible material that prosecutors gather,” said Jerry Gowen, executive director of O.U.R.

In a recent interview with The New Yorker, an E.S.D dog handler named John Hyla, of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office in New York, explained how a canine’s nose can track down hidden flash drives, cell phones, hard drives, and micro S.D. cards.

“If there’s a McDonald’s cheeseburger on a plate, you and I would just smell a cheeseburger. A dog smells the bun, the burger, the cheese, the sesame seeds, the lettuce. The smell of a memory device is equivalent to the smell of the lettuce—the faintest of all the scents,” Hyla said.

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