Google Gives to Stop Anti-Trafficking
This week, Google announced that it will give $3 million to three anti-trafficking organisations as part of its Global Impact Award program run through its Google Giving philanthropic arm. The search giant will also give tech support to build a data-sharing platform to identify global patterns on human-trafficking trade operations and learn how to better protect the victims. The initiative was announced at Google's offices in Washington, where only a few hours earlier the White House published a Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking.
According to Bloomberg Business Week, human trafficking is one of the most lucrative criminal businesses. Research from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that 20.9 million people have been pushed into forced labor creating a $32 billion trade that reaches all corners of the world. Google believes that Big Data can help prevent these crimes by providing more insight into the trade that surprisingly is known little about.
Google’s donation will be shared by three anti-trafficking organisations. La Strada International, focuses on central and eastern Europe, Liberty Asia on the Asian continent and the Polaris Project covers anti-trafficking issues in the United States. The three organisations operate emergency hotlines and they will share their data pertaining to where the calls are coming from, the victims’ ages, the victims’ home countries and the type of activity they have been forced into.
Google is also partnering with Palantir Technologies and Salesforce.com to build the data-sharing platform. Palantir is donating its data integration and analytics platform, and Salesforce.com is helping Polaris scale its call tracking infrastructure internationally. The 3 companies will work to analyse the data in real time to detect crime trends that can then be passed to the authorities. Reported on Businessweek.com, Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google Giving, stated that “Working with the [anti-trafficking] partners, we can take data from their help lines and map it so that we can identify who is vulnerable, the patterns that emerge, and anticipate the movement, offering prevention measures, not just rescue.” Currently, there are several emergency hotlines that exist around the world but they are disconnected from each other.
This is a great initiative by Google. It seems there is very little known on human trafficking and hopefully this will shed some light on the issue and prevent some people from being victims. What I would like to know is how long it will take before there is enough data to see patterns to put preventative measures in place. According to Sci-Tech Today, Big Data is already being used to obtain intelligence on every transaction conceivable. Now Google is bringing Big Data analytics to a new level. On their official blog, Google posted on Tuesday that "clear international strategies, increased cooperation, and appropriate data sharing amongst anti-trafficking organizations will help victims, prevention efforts, and sound policymaking."
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