The woman was eventually able to break free and her attacker fled.

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“Details of this incident will be reviewed further and you may be contacted by law enforcement for questioning.” The warning can vary based on the conversation, if, for example, a potential buyer expresses an interest in someone underage.

Microsoft employees built the bot in a philanthropic initiative called Project Intercept, in collaboration with nonprofits that hope it can reduce demand for sex workers, and the incentives for criminals to coerce people into the sex trade.

The series delves into the widespread commercial sex trade in our cities and suburbs, the online marketplaces where pimps and johns buy and sell sex, cases of modern-day slavery and victims’ tales of survival.

For people looking to buy and sell sex, standing on street corners and cruising red-light districts are largely a thing of the past, as the illicit sex trade has moved into the digital world over the past decade.

THE IMPACT: Experts say the rise of online sex ads has made prostitution and sex trafficking less visible and greatly expanded its reach into suburban Massachusetts.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth and final installment in a series of stories exploring human trafficking in Massachusetts.

A new bot built by Microsoft employees in their spare time is designed to do exactly the opposite.

The chatbot, tested recently in Seattle, Atlanta, and Washington, lurks behind fake online ads for sex posted by nonprofits working to combat human trafficking, and responds to text messages sent to the number listed.

“Boston doesn’t think we have an issue,” said Audrey Morrissey, a former sex trafficking victim who sold her body in Boston’s notorious “Combat Zone” district in the 1980s.