Using tech to fight human trafficking epidemic

The White House is using technology to tackle an age-old issue from a new perspective. Human trafficking is a global problem and one the administration has pledged to redouble its efforts on here in the U.S.

In a White House blog post, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park and his senior adviser Vivian Graubard called on innovators in America to join the cause.

“Whether you are a technologist developing cutting-edge tools to assist victims, or a hotel executive who ensures that your staff is trained to recognize the indicators of trafficking and how to appropriately report it, or a citizen insisting that the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and the products we buy are made free of forced labor,” they wrote.

The State Department will host a series of anti-trafficking “Tech Camps” that will bring together civil society organizations and technologists for two days of brainstorming and development. These two groups will work to design low-cost, easy-to-use tools to combat trafficking.


The Health and Human Services Department will work to develop data-driven solutions to help identify potential victims and connect them with trauma-related services. The national initiative HHS launched today is working to create technology and systems to better link trafficking victims to healthcare providers.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is hosting a Build Tech Challenge Contest to find innovative ideas for the use of technology to raise awareness and encourage social action to fight trafficking in Ukraine. The idea came from the 2012 Campus Challenge, which created an online community of more than 2,000 students worldwide.

The White House unveiled this week’s new initiatives in parallel with the president’s speech at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, where he announced the United States’ renewed fight against human trafficking.

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