child trafficking art exhibit

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Technology is a double-edged sword in the world of trafficking. While on one hand the evolution of technology has facilitated multiple crimes, isolation from technology increases the chances of trafficking. Access to technology gives law enforcement the data which helps them with things like travel documents , performing background checks and sheds light on criminal behaviour. Worldwide everyone is trying to leverage technology to fight against trafficking. University of Southern California created a software to detect potential sex trafficking cases online. Ashton Kutcher’s company, Thorn partnered with Google, Pinterest, Facebook and others to help identify and rescue human trafficking victims and catch predators. Thorn has tech tools to fight against human trafficking.

 

Innovation is occurring in India too. There is a virtual-reality documentary which runs 11 minutes long and gives the viewer a fist hand feel of trafficking. It follows a girl being married off by her father and trafficked into a brothel. It gives a 360-degree view of village life as she recounts her abduction to escape journey. Virtual reality is a powerful form of storytelling. It gets more attention and elicits greater empathy among the viewers.

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Missing Link Trust, established to use Art and Technology for social change has put in its own little efforts in utilising technology to eradicate human trafficking. MISSING is a Role Playing Game designed to put players in the decision making seat and allow them to experience what a ‘missingirl’ goes through when she is trafficked into cruel world of prostitution. Players assume the role of the missing person, making choices and assessing risks for themselves to find their way to freedom. Now more than ever, game developers have realized that they can use the gaming environment to shine light on important real world issues. The game developer Satyajit travelled with the artist, Leena Kejriwal, to different red light districts in Kolkata to get under the skin of the issue. Genre wise, MISSING is a mix between adventure, puzzle and RPG. It is developed in a responsive way so that it can be released in multiple platforms. It is primarily targeted at Android, iOS and PC. The game aims to expose the player to the dark world of human trafficking and raise awareness about trafficking. The game was launched in October 2016.

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Impulse Case Info Center (ICIC) software registered 598 cases in 2017 and 166 in 2018, so far. The software provides new ways of sharing intelligence, accessing a database of wanted traffickers and getting updates on cases. It was founded by Hasina Kharbhih in 1990s in Meghalaya. Keeping in mind the vulnerability of the deprived children, Impulse decided to conduct a needs-assessment study to understand the situation of underprivileged children. Impulse NGO Network organized weekly outreach programs for children at various ‘sourcing’ points, offering nutritional supplements. Impulse NGO Network team and several volunteers spent time with the children, discussed their needs, taught them about their basic rights and provided non-formal education. Impulse NGO Network created a data bank with details of each child, which helped in keeping track of their movements. The regular interaction with the children revealed valuable information on fly-by-night recruiters, their modus operandi and children already gone missing. They found that due to ethnic conflict the North-eastern states are a trafficking hotspot.

The Impulse method is a holistic method to address human trafficking by engaging the necessary stakeholders to work in collaboration and strengthen each other’s work. Each of the stakeholders are connected to each other and work in close coordination so as to not overlap their efforts and resources thereby making their work more effective. The Impulse Model’s case management system follows 6 R’s: Reporting, Rescue, Rehabilitation, Repatriation,Reintegration and Re-compensation. Each of these parts in case management is vital and needs to be carried out with efficient, victim-friendly procedures, involving the necessary stakeholders in the process. Therefore, to provide holistic anti-human trafficking response and proper case management, the tools of 6 P’s are necessary: Partnership, Prevention, Protection, Policing, Press and Prosecution. The Software is currently under finalization and it will be launched shortly in the 8 states of North East India, free-of-charge. The Software will also be revised to be suitable to be available for Myanmar Anti-Human Trafficking Forces. Therefore, the Software will provide both national and international communication channel for Anti-Human Trafficking Units to share information and collaborate in human trafficking cases.

The 2016 National Crime Records Bureau conducted a study which showed around  thirty-four thousand people were kidnapped for the purpose of marriage, almost half of them were under 18. Out of the 35 million people trafficked worldwide, there are 14 million victims just in India but sadly less than a thousand cases are handled nationwide. With the increasing use of technology, these crimes can be controlled and prevented and the culprits could be identified and penalized.

We hope that with continued dedicated efforts by everyone in the direction of social change and with the silver lining in sight that our previous endeavors have provided, we are hopeful of technology bringing in change with a ripple effect.