Use of Mobile Technology to Fight Human Trafficking
|April 5, 2014||Posted by M. P. under Policy, Technology||
Although technology allowed for the spread of human trafficking activities across mobile platforms and sites, anti-trafficking interventions are using mobile media to advocate for and reach potential victims. In March 2013, The Polaris Project, an organization committed to fighting human trafficking as well as strengthening the anti-trafficking movement, activated a mobile code to assist victims of human trafficking in locating help. This textable short code, BEFREE or 233733, puts a victim in touch with someone who can help them plan an escape from their situation and, if possible, connect them with local resources for further assistance. After a year of operation, the organization released data that indicate victims of trafficking are utilizing the text option more than the hotline (17 percent versus 9 percent). Other findings include
- nearly 75 percent of the calls referred to sex trafficking,
- 68 percent of the calls mentioned one female victim (or more),
- 8 percent of the calls mentioned one male victim (or more),
- and adults were the victims in 58 percent of the calls.
In Pennsylvania, data from 2007 to 2013 reported to the Human Trafficking Resource Center show the majority of potential trafficking situations are related to sex (74 percent), followed by labor (16 percent). Additional data on human trafficking in the Commonwealth, as well as resources for those seeking information and assistance, are available on the Polaris Project website.
Photo Credit: M. Puzzanchera (Own Work) (CC By-NC-ND 3.0)