how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020

how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020

how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020

Today, we are here to discussthe role of technology in the fight against human trafficking. I’d like to introduce theexperts who are joining me today for this discussion. We are privileged to have with us Luis CdeBaca,Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons; Todd Park, U.S. ChiefTechnology Officer at the White House; and Claire Schmidt, Director of Programs at THORN. Thank you all so much for participating in this program. Trafficking in persons, also known as humantrafficking and modern slavery, is a crime that undermines basic human rights and affectsas many as 27 million persons around the globe. http://tech

People fall victim to human trafficking formany, many reasons. Some may simply be seeking a better life, a promising job, or even anadventure. Others may be poverty stricken and forced to migrate for work, or they maybe marginalized by their society. Those who work to combat trafficking have begun to harnesstechnology as a tool to raise public awareness, stop traffickers, and help victims.

The United States Government is committedto the global fight against contemporary forms of slavery and has shown so by appointingLuis CdeBaca as Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Ambassador,welcome. You were sworn into this position in May of 2009. Could you tell us a littlebit about some of your top priorities and why the connection between technology andhuman trafficking is important for us to consider? AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: Well, first of all, thankyou, Cheryl. I think that the notion of Conversations with America really goes to the heart of whywe think that we have to use new technological platforms in this fight against modern slavery. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

My office was created at the end of the Clinton Administration and was taken on as somethingthat was a quintessentially American value by the Bush Administration. We’ve now takenit hopefully to an even more intense fight under President Obama, and I think it justshows that you’ve got administrations that don’t always see eye to eye on things, buthuman trafficking and the fight against modern slavery, making it through those transitionperiods – I think it shows this is a bipartisan fight, it’s quintessentially an American fight. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

And I think that’s one of the reasons whytechnology is so important, because if we look at the original American fight againstslavery to do away with the chattel slavery, legal slavery, where not only was somebodyowned, but their children were owned, people could take a lease out on somebody, peoplecould take insurance out on the person they owned, you had to register your slaves atthe courthouse.

I mean, it’s just – when you think about not just the effect on families,the effect on people who lived in slavery, but the way that society was all arrangedaround slavery in this country for 300 years, and suddenly, the telegraph, the steamship,and the railroad come and people who had escaped slavery can suddenly be in your town givinga lecture about what had happened to them.

Editorials and stories suddenly are showingup in newspapers because this communications technology of the telegraph suddenly bringsit into your home, and for the first time, people in the United States started confrontingthe reality of slavery. It wasn’t something that just happened over there down in theSouth. It was – these people just came to town on this train and they’re telling mewhat the horrors of slavery are. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

Disruptive technology is not a new thing.It’s just that these technologies are new. But I think that we have to look at the disruptivetechnologies of the first abolitionist movement to figure out what this modern abolitionistmovement does. And you’ve got two people here who are working on that who really are onthe cutting edge, so we’re just so excited about being able to harness their goals andtheir expertise in this joint American fight.

how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020

how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020

MS. BENTON: Very good. Thank you, Ambassador.I wanted to ask Todd, you have truly taken a leadership role on this issue in the technologyfield. Can you tell us a little bit more about the anti-trafficking work that your officeis doing at the White House? And welcome. MR. PARK: Thank you so much. Thanks for havingme over. MS. BENTON: Absolutely. MR. PARK: It’s a pleasure to be here. I justwanted to also thank Ambassador CdeBaca for his incredible leadership in this fight, andit’s such a tremendous privilege and honor to be partnered with you and the whole teamhere in this critically important movement. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

So as you know, the President has challengedeveryone in his Administration to redouble their energies in the fight against modern-dayslavery. And so taking up that challenge, what my CTO office did last year, workingwith the First Lady’s Office, the Council on Women and Girls, is we convened a workshopat the White House where we invited about 50 amazing people – trafficking survivors,advocates, amazing tech innovators from Silicon Valley, law enforcement to brainstorm waysthat tech can be used to fight trafficking. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

As I think everybody knows, unfortunately,traffickers have been very effective using technology themselves to actually scale trafficking.And what the President wants to do is actually turn the tables on the traffickers and usetech to fight back. So this group came up with amazing ideas. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

The President subsequently, a couple months later at his landmark speech at Clinton GlobalInitiative, issued a public challenge to turn the table on traffickers using tech. And peoplelike Claire and Thorn Foundation and others have just done phenomenal work, phenomenalwork in this space building tools that help identify what online advertisements are morelikely to be minors so that law enforcement can actually prioritize their efforts to rescuevictims, helping victims connect to services that can help them, all kinds of new waysto actually take the fight to the traffickers and help victims use tech to really scalethe fight against trafficking to new heights. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

So it’s incredibly exciting to see. One of our favorite laws of the universe issomething called Joy’s Law. It was coined by the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, BillJoy, who’s a legendary figure in Silicon Valley. And one of the things he said, no matter whoyou are, you have to remember that most of the smartest people in the world work forsomebody else, right? So our strategy hasn’t been “Okay, I’m going to think reallyhard and my team’s going to, like, build the tools ourselves. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

” We said, “You know what?Actually, let’s ask all the other smart people in the world who know a lot more about thisthan we do, right, to mobilize their energies and team up and fight back.” And I think Thornand the work that Thorn’s doing is a perfect case example of what happens when you do that. MS. BENTON: Great. Thank you.

how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020

how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020

And so I wantedto turn to Claire over at Thorn. First of all, is that an acronym? MS. SCHMIDT: No, it is not an acronym. Wesee ourselves as the protectors of children who are the most vulnerable members of oursociety, and we protect them the same way that a Thorn protects a rose, so — MS. BENTON: That is great. MS. SCHMIDT: — that’s what it means. MS. BENTON: That’s great. So just tell mea little bit about the work that you do at Thorn because I know you’re here meeting withsome organizations in D.C. MS. SCHMIDT: Mm-hmm, yes. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

So we have beenaround since 2009, and when we were founded, we started as more of an awareness-raisingorganization and we focused on letting people know that slavery and trafficking were stillhappening in this country, which still surprises a lot of people. But in March 2010, we had a big meeting oftechnology companies up in the Bay Area and we told them about what was happening, andwe said some of your tools are being used to facilitate this crime. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

How can we use yourtools and how can you use your tools to fight back? And ever since that meeting, we – peoplewere very passionate about getting involved and really wanting to help. And ever sincethen, we’ve convened about 25 to 30 tech companies up in the Bay Area about twice a year, andwe bring them information about how trafficking is changing, how child sex trafficking inparticular is changing and how traffickers are sort of evolving the way that they usetechnology. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

And they’re very, very excited to sort of have that, like, field understandingof the crime. And at the same time, we bring them togetherwith one another to share best practices, and then we ask them – in the same way thatTodd mentioned, we ask them to brainstorm, okay, where do you see these technologies going and how could they be used to fight back, how can we get one step or two stepsahead of the traffickers. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

and how can we use technology to help survivors reach out forhelp? And so a big part of our work has been convening those task force meetings over timeand then using the findings and learnings to inform program development. MS. BENTON: Wow, that’s pretty exciting. Soin order to enslave their victims, traffickers constantly change how they operate and havelearned how to utilize the tools available to them, including technology, to target,recruit, and exploit victims. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020

First, I think it would be helpful for ourviewers to know, what are the most common ways traffickers target their victims? AndI’d like to ask Todd to tell us what steps can we do to make it more difficult for traffickersto do this. MR. PARK: Well, so, technology can be usedin all kinds of ways to help. I mean, I have to stress, though – and this is kind of oddcoming from a chief technology officer – but I don’t think technology by itself solvesany problem, right.

It’s been very rare in my experience that it actually has. MS. BENTON: It’s MR. PARK: Yes, I know it is. Technologycan be a very useful aid, right, in the hands of victims, in the hands of victims services,activist organizations, law enforcement, to help fight trafficking. But it’s very importantto think of technology as a tool and not as a solution, right. So that being said, it can actually be usedin all kinds of ways to disrupt the traffickers, right. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

And so one example actually is workthat Claire should talk more about, to help law enforcement be equipped with a tool thatactually morphs and shifts and changes as traffickers shift their behavior to basicallyhelp begin identify online through the online advertisements that traffickers use to exploittheir victims, right, who might actually be, for example, a child, right. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

That law enforcementshould prioritize for rescue, right, and help build cases across multiple ads that theycan use to take traffickers out, right. Another example is educating children aboutthe ways they might be exploited, right, and helping them actually be better prepared forthat, and helping victims actually connect using technology, right, in very effective,scalable, secure ways, connect to help that can actually help get them out of their situationand help them get on the path they really want to be on.

how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020

how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020

So a lot of the same characteristic technologythat traffickers have used to exploit their victims, right, the ability to scale or theability to actually find folks online, right – those characteristics actually can be usedto scale the fight against the traffickers, but again, in the hands of law enforcement,in the hands of victims, in the hands of activist organizations, in the hands of victim services,who are absolutely critical, right, to be partnered up with the technology for technologyto really work. MS. BENTON: Right.

Ambassador, what typesof efforts has the anti-trafficking community fostered to harness technology as a tool tofight trafficking? AMBASSADOR CDEBACA: I think there’s been severalthings, and it does break down, as Todd suggests, I mean, that notion of everything from thevery basic. I think that we’re down to the point where we just assume everybody has acomputer and so databases aren’t thought of as being cutting-edge technology. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

But I rememberwhen I was in the DA’s office back in the ’80s, and suddenly our ability to just keeptrack of our cases on a database, not a network online or anything, we just networked in ourown office. That was – again, that was transformative. And the notion of being able to do that withan anti-trafficking unit in a developing country, so they actually know where the victims are,what’s happening in the court room. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

Even something that’s as what we would think of as rudimentary,not cutting edge, as a good database, is something that we’re trying to make sure that we canget out to the field. But also that notion of the linkages – traffickersare quick to exploit technology because it allows them to help find a market. They canfind the men for whom they’re going to be offer prostitutes, whether it’s child prostitutesor adults, on various online fora. And then looking at how that could be disrupted, whetherit’s through the service provider themselves or whether it’s governmental action, or whetherit’s some combination of all of that together to put pressure on that so it’s harder forthem to find the market.

But I think that’s going to generate tremendousreturns in terms of success in the fight. And I wonder whether, as well, that that notionof not just – we always talk about new technology, but a lot of what Thorn’s doing for instanceis going into folks who have technology and saying how do we tweak what you’re doing sothat it can help this particular population.

how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020

My – we had folks that were in a shrimp processingfactory in Thailand on a visit, and of course they talked to some of the workers and theysaid, oh yeah, we always love it when the Americans come because they tell us two daysbefore that you’re coming and then we’re not supposed to bring our kids to work. So that’ssome issues on itself. But one of the things that was amazing isthat the shrimp exporting industry, which is like a $6 billion industry had been saying,well, we can’t trace down to the boat. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

We’re selling shrimp and we know there’s these boatcaptains that are enslaving people, but we can’t trace all the way back down. And myfolks were in the factory and they looked over and here’s somebody hitting the sideof the little cartons that each of the shrimp processers were having to clean, hitting thatwith a laser and bar coding. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

And so Alice went over and she’s like, “What’s the barcodefor?” And they’re like, “Oh, we have to do this in case there’s a health issue.” And so the very people who had been sayingwe can’t trace it back to the boat and hold that – to hold the U.S. company accountablefor what that boat captain did to the crew, at the same time you can trace that bag ofshrimp all the way back to the boat, if you’re looking at health issues.

Now I think part of it is because the healthissues not only are you going to have the regulation of the health ministries – whetherthe U.S. or other countries are going to – if there’s an outbreak. But then there’s alsogoing to be liability issues. And so the notion of getting the plaintiffs lawyers involvedhas provided an incentive for them to use that technology to be able to trace.

Samething with the spinach, you get these e-coli outbreaks and they’ll tell you even whichquadrant of the field the spinach came from. But they’ll tell you, oh, well we don’t knowwho the crew leader was. So I think that part of it is we have to figure out this technologythat’s there, it’s already being used, and then how do we incorporate the human traffickinginto it as well. MS. BENTON: That’s right. Claire, where doyou see the role of technology having the greatest impact in efforts to combat humantrafficking? I direct that to you, but obviously everyone can jump in. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

MS. SCHMIDT: Yeah, I think one of the programsthat I’m most excited about is the one that Todd mentioned, which would really allow lawenforcement to use their time as effectively and efficiently as possible in trying to rescuechildren who are being exploited. And actually, as you mentioned, it’s using an existing technologyin a different way.

So we’re working with a tech company thatdoes semantic analysis for the Department of Defense, and we’re actually just deployingthat same technology on the online classified sites and the escort services section of thosesites where children and adults alike are being advertised. And the real question thatwe asked is: Can an algorithm really detect an ad that is more likely to be a minor? Andthen in some ways surface that to law enforcement so that they have that information right awayand can act upon it? So the ability would be for law enforcement to rescue victims more quickly. how to control technology and human trafficking in 2020.

I thinkit’s really important to share information and share insights, and that’s a big partof what drives the work that we do, and I think it’s critical to being able to fightback. MS. BENTON: Well, good. Well, I’d like tothank Ambassador CdeBaca, Todd Park, and Claire Schmidt for sharing their work and their knowledgewith us. I’d also like to thank each of you for joining us today. We hope that Conversationswith America will continue to inform citizens about the Administration’s efforts to addressthe challenges of the 21st century. We look forward to engaging with you again soon. Thankyou.

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