A data-driven strategy to fight modern-day slavery worldwide.By Polaris Project
It was during their senior year at Brown University that two students, Katherine Chon and Derek Ellerman, first read about human trafficking. A brothel, disguised as a massage parlour, had been found by the authorities near to the college campus where six Asian women were being held captive through debt bondage, tortured, and forced into the sex industry.
Human trafficking is a criminal industry on the rise. The International Labour Organization (ILO) now estimates that 21m people across the world are victims of trafficking, being forced into prostitution, or to provide labour or other services against their will.
Polaris International, Liberty Asia and La Strada International are three leading organisations fighting trafficking in different parts of the world – the US, South East Asia and Europe. Together they are combining their experience and expertise with the big data capability and financial support of Google to create a global, data-driven strategy against slavery.
Hotlines are one of the strongest defences against slavery – allowing individuals to provide tips, or victims to call for help. Many hotlines exist globally for this purpose, but there is little collaboration across different organisations managing these. What digital technology can do is capture and track data from these hotlines, helping to stitch together a digital map of global trafficking and allowing organisations to work together to analyse and investigate the data.
Since 2007, Polaris Project’s US hotline has taken 72,000 calls, connected 8,300 survivors to services and support, and reported 3,000 cases of human trafficking to law enforcement. With a global network of organisations and the computing and analytical power of Google, Vision 2020 is a strategy that could finally consign slavery to history.
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Last updated: 09th of May, 2014