We are in the battle but we are not winning the war. People trafficking is the world’s fastest growing crime.
This global criminal business creates huge profits for all those who invest their time and energy to buy and sell people on a scale that is unprecedented, seriously organized and operates across every border.
There are many individuals and organizations working across the world in the important work of rescuing those who are deceived, trapped and trafficked – but their work has not impacted or disrupted the business model that the traffickers are operating. Every rescue simply creates a vacancy that traffickers willingly and quickly fill.
This crime is all about making money – much of which flows through legitimate businesses. This crime also is about feeding the supply chains that we as consumers are (usually) unknowingly a part of, through our demand for our discount clothing, chocolate treats and much that we buy, use and consume. We are all implicated in this crime and importantly, we are all part of the solution.
STOP THE TRAFFIK (STT) has been working over the past 10 years pioneering in prevention of human trafficking. We have made significant progress raising awareness through our partnerships across business, financial institutions, enforcement agencies and with communities around the world. However, to increase our impact and truly prevent this terrible crime, we need to disrupt the supply chains of the traffickers and to better understand what is going on. To do this we are empowering people to take action by raising awareness of human trafficking; by working with vulnerable communities to educate and ensure people are not deceived into becoming trafficked; and by working with businesses. From a legal perspective, STT has led in the inclusion and drafting of a supply chain amendment in the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and works with financial institutions, governments and NGOs to eliminate trafficking.
Despite STT’s work, along with many thousands of other organizations around the world who are also focused on the rescue and rehabilitation of victims, traffickers are still winning this fight. We simply do not know enough of what is actually happening and we do not share what we know. We work in silos and we keep our tools, our information and our resources to ourselves.
STOP THE TRAFFIK believes that intelligence can win the war. In response to this challenge, we have established the “Centre for Intelligence Led Prevention” (CfILP). With world-leading analytical capability from IBM and a simple Smart Phone App, this provides a big data solution to build a detailed intelligence map of human trafficking networks. Simply put: you can’t stop what you can’t see.
By collecting community information and sharing data sets with others, we can see more, and thus target intelligence tools, resources and messages to those at risk whilst at the same time uncovering human traffickers. Data of course is of little use unless you work out what to do with it. STT is committed to its work of seeking to empower communities to take action and say STOP.
Through an IBM Impact Grant, IBM has turned STT’s vision into reality. Without the IBM Impact Grant, our vision would have remained a dream. IBM has donated a database, hosted on IBM’s SoftLayer Cloud to STT, in order that we can receive the information that is now flowing in from the STOP APP (freely available to all on the main app stores), as well as donating IBM i2 analyst software licenses to enable access to groundbreaking analytical tools, and additionally has trained STT volunteers in the use of the i2 analyst software. IBM continues to provide us with access to the professional knowledge and skills of the i2 software development team to build our capabilities.
STT has built many partnerships and relationships across civil society, business, financial institutions and community and NGO networks. We are inviting everyone to download the STOP APP, input any trafficking stories, old and new and share in the building of a clearer picture that will enable us all to be better at what we are doing on the ground. The more we can see, the more targeted we can be in our messaging and action. We long for a day when we can truly prevent this crime.
The partnership with IBM has created amazing potential. We are truly grateful to IBM for their skill and generosity – and we want now to share what we have with many others, so that together we can bring to life our belief that when our new technological capability, combined with a global movement of people sharing what they know – we can STOP THE TRAFFIK.
Ruth Dearnley is the Chief Executive of Stop the Traffik.
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