In 2011 and 2012 CCLP research director Mark Latonero published two pioneering reports on the role of technology in both facilitating and combatting human trafficking. The issue has been rising steadily on the agenda of policymakers and stakeholders in recent years. Most notably, President Obama and The White House have identified human trafficking as a high-priority human rights imperative, and have advocated specifically for the development of technologies to stop it. In order to facilitate the development of effective technological interventions that are responsive to the realities and complexities of human trafficking, CCLP has worked with partners including Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit and a number of leading academic institutions on a framing document for technologists.
Notably, our partnership with Danah Boyd, highly esteemed senior researcher at Microsoft Research and Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, has afforded leading academics an opportunity to “shed light on salient misconceptions and provide key insights that are useful for those who want to make a difference” in the field of human trafficking.
As technologists take on the challenge, it is vital that they are armed with an understanding of the nuanced social, psychological, and technological framework in which trafficking victims are exploited. Therefore, it is the intention of the following guiding principles to set forth structure and parameters for innovators seeking to develop combative technologies for human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC):
How to Responsibly Create Technological Interventions to Address the Domestic Sex Trafficking of Minors
This factsheet is not a comprehensive dissection of human trafficking, but is intended to provide an overview and basic framework of understanding. The document provides a broad overview of social and psychological factors of youth exploitation, the use of technology by law enforcement, and offers key recommendations for the development of interventions.
The domestic sex trafficking of minors remains a gross violation of human rights that requires innovative and collaborative solutions. Technology has tremendous potential to revolutionize the fight against human trafficking and aid victims and survivors of exploitation. We commend those who are embracing the challenge, and hope that in sharing the knowledge of our team in this document we can provide perspective and insight for the development of effective and responsive technological interventions for counter-trafficking.