For years human traffickers have used the latest technology to profit from the slave trade but now software engineers at big data companies like...
And this year the Global Impact Award went to anti-trafficking organizations Polaris Project, LaStrada International, and Liberty Asia due to their burgeoning work with using big data to build an interconnected grid of modern-day tools to fight human trafficking.
“Trafficking isn’t a very static or a very monolithic thing. There are uses of technology that traffickers are using that we haven’t even learned yet. It’s very fluid and the folks working on trafficking need to be as nimble as the traffickers are in our ability to innovate, in our ability to leverage new technologies to make our work more effective,” says Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris Project, one of the recipients of the grant.
Myles tells me that traffickers use technology like everyone else does--to make their lives easier. They use social media to recruit victims, they use mobile devices with built-in GPS to track women under their control, so they always know where they are and if they are servicing clients, and they even use Internet groups as a marketplace to buy and sell women and forced laborers.
Traffickers also use technology to get online customers via porn sites--even if those customers don’t know that the women they’re watching are being held against their will. “There are webcam sites that exist where traffickers force women to be involved in live online shows. Traffickers are forcing women and girls to strip and do sex acts over webcams for sex buyers that are in another country but are interacting with the women nonetheless,” Myles says.