By Jodi Emerson
We live in a digital age. We’ve seen how websites have made human trafficking available to the masses. But did you also know that there are many websites and apps out there to help fight trafficking? Fierce Freedom has spent some time looking at a few and would like to offer our thoughts on them.
TraffickCam by Exchange Initiative
This app allows the user to take pictures of a hotel room and record the city and room number of the hotel. This is important because much of the sex trafficking that happens in the U.S. happens in hotel rooms and many of the ads posted contain pictures of people in hotel rooms. The app developers are in the process of assembling a database of hotel rooms so that when law enforcement finds a picture in a hotel room, they can compare it to the database and narrow down the search for the victim.
Pros: Easy to use. Makes the user feel like they are doing something to fight trafficking. There are warning signs listed in the app so it educates people while they are helping fight trafficking.
Cons: Room database is not available yet. Rooms get remodeled so pictures can be outdated.
Sweat and Toil: Child Labor and Forced Labor by US Department of Labor
This app deals with overseas labor trafficking that is so hard to fight. The app allows the user to look up goods by area or country to determine if child labor or forced labor is used in the production of the item. This app is wonderful because the majority of human trafficking that happens worldwide is labor trafficking and this app helps people make smart decisions with their consumer dollars.
Pros: Easy to use. You can look up items by type or by country. Has numerous categories which reinforces what a big problem labor trafficking is throughout the world.
Cons: Organizations of all sorts manufacture projects and we know that there can be good and bad businesses in the same area. This app does not include the United States, so it gives the appearance that labor trafficking does not happen in this country.
The STOP APP-End human trafficking by 5Si
This app allows you to record instances when you suspect human trafficking is happening. We do not -recommend this app be used. If you see something, contact local police and then call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888.
Pros: Gives good information about what to look for and warns the user to report to local law enforcement first and them second.
Cons: Puts the user in dangerous situations of playing cop. Traffickers are dangerous individuals and often will react violently if they are afraid they are being recorded.
BAN Human Trafficking! by Inellex and Lifeboat ACT game by Jill Cohen
These gaming apps allow the user to act out scenarios of how traffickers take advantage of people and groom them for a life of trafficking. Both of these apps put you in the shoes of someone in either an everyday situation or a desperate situation so you can understand how easily someone can be tricked into doing something they would have never imagined doing.
Pros: Great way to start a conversation with teenagers about human trafficking. Helps you understand what a victim goes through. Learn lessons while playing a game.
Con: The STOP APP was developed in Europe, so it would be easy for users to assume trafficking doesn’t happen in America. Remember that trafficking can happen anywhere and apply the scenarios to your neighborhood.
Apps are great tools as we work to educate everyone that modern day slavery is happening in our hometowns. But we must use them carefully. Never put yourself in danger. If you see something happening, contact local police. Please do your part to educate yourself and those around you to fight the fastest growing crime on the planet.