WHAT IS THE ACCELERATOR?
The Tech Against Trafficking Accelerator is a fixed-term, cohort-based program intended to help organizations deploying promising technological solutions accelerate the development, impact and utilization of their tools.
The Accelerator connects participating organizations and member companies to provide the participating organization with technical expertise, network access, mentorship, and educational opportunities, expediting operational processes and technical advancements that facilitate scale and optimize for long-term sustainability.
Applying for the Accelerator
Diverse technological solutions are needed to advance innovative strategies to address human trafficking. Through an open and collaborative process, Tech Against Trafficking is looking to engage with tech initiatives and tools across all geographies, languages, sectors, and methods of application.
These solutions can be at any stage of post-concept development by must be tech-centered initiatives or tools. Below are four relevant stages of development:
- Prototype: An initiative or tool in the building and testing phase.
- Pilot: An initiative or tool already deployed and being used in a specific geography and/ or community.
- Mezzanine: An established initiative or tool that has a proven track record and opportunity for greater scale across multiple geographies and/or communities
- Mature: A largely self-sustaining initiative or tool with active operations in several geographies and/or communities, looking to work towards a global impact
Organizations from the Global South or countries / regions with high prevalence rates of human trafficking are strongly encouraged to apply.Application Timeline
- May 10th: Application period opens
- July 1st: Application period closes
- July-August: Tech Against Trafficking Secretariat reviews the applications and contacts shortlisted applicants for additional information and interviews
- September: Accelerator participants announced at Tech Against Trafficking Summit. The 10-month program will launch shortly thereafter
2021 ACCELERATOR PROGRAM
Seattle Against Slavery is an organization dedicated to combatting labor and sex trafficking through education, technology, and men’s accountability. Their online platform, Freedom Signal, enables direct service organizations to send targeted, text-based outreach to potential victims of online sex trafficking or sexual exploitation.
Unseen UK provides direct support to survivors and uses its frontline expertise to inform anti-trafficking and modern slavery advocacy efforts. Unseen runs the Modern Slavery Helpline and Resource Centre which provides victims, the public, statutory agencies, and businesses with access to information and support on a 24/7 basis.
Over the course of the Accelerator, TAT worked with both Organizations on software-as-a-service and data analysis workstreams.
Software-as-a-Service Business Model: TAT is supporting both organizations in developing a sustainable business model for their respective technology platforms: Freedom Signal and The Modern Slavery Helpline and Resource Center. An understanding of how product strategy, unit economics, and customer success affects growth will allow organizations to utilize technology in the most effective way to scale their platforms and have a sustainable business model going forward.
Data Analysis and Productization: TAT is supporting both organizations in optimizing their data infrastructure to better address the organizations’ needs. In both cases, the data is being extracted and analyzed in an AWS cloud environment. Once the data infrastructure is in place, insights from the data will be “productized” to serve the needs of the respective organizations and their third-party partners.
On May 10th, 2022, Tech Against Trafficking is hosting a 2-hour virtual event where we will showcase the outputs of the Accelerator and discuss how the learnings and tools can be used by the broader anti-trafficking field. The event will include presentations by our two TAT Accelerator participants: The Lantern Project and Unseen UK.
2019 ACCELERATOR PROGRAM
Tech Against Trafficking invited the Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC), an initiative of the international Organization for Migration (IOM), to participate in the inaugural Summer 2019 Accelerator Program.
The CTDC is a global human trafficking data hub, publishing harmonized data from counter-trafficking organizations around the world. The goal is to reduce barriers to information-sharing and provide a mechanism for organizations to get data to public and policy audiences. In addition, CTDC helps to build a more complete picture of counter-trafficking trends based on up-to-date, reliable, and standardized data on human trafficking. CTDC hopes to further develop its partnership engagement process and continue to explore and promote best practices around data anonymization, privacy and security.
Over the course of the Accelerator, TAT and CTDC partnered on workstreams related to privacy-preserving mechanisms, data standards, and increased platform engagement.
The privacy preserving workstream sought to develop a solution for analyzing case data while protecting victim privacy. The solution uses machine learning to generate a synthetic dataset which represent statistical properties of the sensitive dataset rather than actual (potentially identifiable) individuals, precomputes them in a way that doesn’t reveal small or precise counts (which may also be identifying), and creates a data interface that allows the user to explore the structure of the data. This solution is now being applied to the full IOM dataset and has been published and made available to the field, setting a new privacy standard for the analysis of human trafficking data.
The data standards workstream addressed data standards/consistency across the field by publishing a global data standard related to victim case management. The new Human Trafficking Case Data Standard (HTCDS) was developed and published, along with guidance for its implementation. The TAT team also worked with a new Indian case management service (Pathways) to apply the standard during its development, providing initial support for 10 NGOs in 2020. This is expected to extend to at least 25 NGOs during November 2020. HTCDS will attract data contributions and partnerships from across the anti-trafficking sector which should enable efficiencies in data analysis, case processes such as referrals and data privacy.
The stakeholder engagement workstream interviewed stakeholders and prospective CTDC data contributors to better understand the value stakeholders derive from the CTDC platform, what additional data, trends, or information stakeholders would find helpful, and what data or information different stakeholders could feed into CTDC’s current dataset and platform. Feedback from the interviews informed specific recommendations on how CTDC can improve the user experience and expand its strategy and offerings to partners. In addition, the workstream refreshed CTDC outreach materials to help improve engagement with dataset owners, show the value of contributing data to CTDC, and optimize the onboarding process for new datasets.
This work has had an indelible impact on CTDC and IOM writ large. As stated by Harry Cook, Data Management and Research Specialist, at IOM, “The CTDC team was delighted to take part in the Accelerator and greatly appreciated the opportunity to get perspective and support from technology sector professionals. Their contribution will have a lasting impact on CTDC and the counter-trafficking community.”