Posted by Sarah Mendelson / June 28, 2011
Sarah Mendelson serves as Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance at USAID.
When was the last time you used your mobile phone to look up an address, stream a video clip, or play a game? Now think about the last time you used your mobile phone to support human rights, raise awareness for a cause, or contribute to sustainable development. What would the world look like if we spent as much time using our cell phones to contribute to development as we do watching YouTube or sending email? What new tools could be developed -- or new uses for existing technology found -- to solve some of the world's most pressing development challenges?
Our new Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance -- launching later this summer -- will devote expertise and resources to tackle these very questions, paying particular attention to marrying innovation and the challenge of protecting against and preventing human rights abuse.
With USAID Forward, an ambitious and transformative reform agenda that changes the way the Agency does business, USAID is leveraging the capabilities of our partners and challenging development professionals, countries, and communities to create new relationships that leverage technology and development to deliver real results. "Stop Human Trafficking App Challenge" is just one of the ways USAID is fostering creativity in technology and development.
In partnership with the Demi and Ashton Foundation (DNA) and NetHope Inc. (a consortium of international humanitarian organizations and major technology companies), USAID announced the Stop Human Trafficking App Challenge in Russia on June 14, 2011. The aim of the challenge is to develop the most effective mobile technology application to combat trafficking in persons in Russia. Russia is a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking. A 2008 benchmark survey supported by the Ford Foundation suggests that 8 out of 10 young Russian women think that human trafficking is a very serious issue, and that tens of thousands of Russian women who were trafficked at one point in their lives are living today in Russia. It is time we all did more to address their needs. The contest aims to raise awareness of sex and labor trafficking and help civil society organizations mobilize to provide services to survivors.
Contestants from Russia and across the region, including diaspora communities, have until August 8, 2011, to submit entries. The technology application that wins the Grand Prize will be implemented in Russia through a pilot project with a domestic anti-trafficking organization. The Grand Prize winner will also receive $15,000 and travel expenses to the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York. The First Prize winner will receive $10,000 and travel expenses to CGI.
Stakeholders from Russia and the wider region -- including Russian anti-trafficking organizations, international nongovernmental organizations, technology companies, and the public -- will have the opportunity to judge the submissions based on their usefulness in preventing trafficking, raising awareness, providing services to survivors, innovation, ease of use, and potential for large-scale application.
Check out USAID's IMPACT blog this week for more stories about USAID TIP programs around in the world in support of the Department of State's eleventh annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report release.
For further information, or to enter the contest, please visit the Stop Human Trafficking App Challenge website. This site is also available in Russian.
Editor's Note: This entry also appears on the USAID Impact Blog.
HOST AN EVENT ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Helping victims of human trafficking is as simple as talking to a friend. Host an event and invite the community to discuss the exploitation of human beings. At this campaign, we are eager to spread the word and we'd like to talk at any community event about human trafficking and victim identification.
For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
-Trafficking in Persons Report 2016 -- Complete Report (PDF)
-Introductory Material (PDF)
-Country Narratives: A-C (PDF)
-Country Narratives: D-I (PDF)
-Country Narratives: J-M (PDF)
-Country Narratives: N-S (PDF)
-Country Narratives: T-Z and Special Case (PDF)
-Relevant International Conventions/Closing Material (PDF)
These are some of the things you can do to help fight human trafficking:
Be informed! Educate yourself about human trafficking by reading about it. Follow events in the news. Keep your eyes open - human trafficking is happening all around us.
Raise awareness! Talk to friends, family and colleagues. You could even start talking to your local politicians and authorities.
Get involved! Participate in an anti-trafficking movement in your area and get involved in its activities and campaigns (e.g. hold events, distribute posters, leaflets etc.) in your neighborhood and in schools.
Encourage businesses! Be a responsible consumer! Inform yourself on the labour policies of companies to ensure their products are free from slave labour and other forms of exploitation. If possible, buy fair trade products.
Seek support! If you suspect that someone has been trafficked report it to the institutions or assistance facilities dealing with human trafficking in your area.
"It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name -- modern slavery."
– President Barack OBAMA