28 October 2013

Why Research is Important to Counter-Trafficking

by Julia Smith-Brake

I love research. I love literature reviews and methodology and bibliographies. I love engaging is discussion about research and seeing programs change or begin based on good research. It may seem obvious that the counter-trafficking sector (like any other social justice or development sector) needs professional, scientific research, but we often forego this “step” in an attempt to address problems quickly. Not necessarily well, but quickly.

So why can’t we see research as a response to human trafficking? Maybe because of the unfortunate divide between academics and practitioners, a gap that often means research does not reach the field, and practitioners feel research does not represent the reality on the field. Maybe because it is difficult for practitioners to know which research is good and which is irrelevant, and practitioners lack the time and motivation to distinguish and access relevant research.

Chab Dai is in a good position to not only do research, but also to provide some of this access to practitioners in the field. Practitioner research is a good way to go about exploring and providing relevant information to other organizations because it is based in an assumption that action will stem out of the research. Research is imperative to the counter-trafficking movement, especially at this juncture, because we need to reflect well on what has led the movement to this point and how we can learn from past successes and failures, what responses have worked and which ones haven’t, and how lessons from other sectors can inform our way forward. 
If we begin to see research as a response to trafficking, in the continuum of responses including prevention, intervention and others, we may be able to integrate it more holistically into our work. If we are continually going back to research and allowing it to inform and challenge our preconceptions and frameworks, won’t our programs be more relevant and better suited to the needs of those we serve?

17 October 2013

TechCamp Comes to Phnom Penh: Bringing the issue of Human Trafficking to the Tech World

By Luke Weatherson
I was very excited to present at Tech Camp Phnom Penh as it was the first time Freedom Registry Cambodia was to be presented to a broad range of stakeholders. I was hoping to meet with a few key stakeholders to further discuss the project, garner some feedback and maybe a little buzz.

#TechCampGlobal are global events that organize stakeholders to develop innovative strategies and create tools using technology. These particular TechCamp’s focus is to be a platform to harness technology to fight the battle against human trafficking.  I couldn’t ask for a more perfect venue introduce Freedom Registry to stakeholders.

Tech Camp format was to connect influential NGOs with digital experts in areas such as mapping, mobile, voice, data collection, and social media awareness to create real time solutions. As Freedom Registry is applied technology the question was how would it be received, would stakeholders see it as a solution to the issues they’re facing, would technology experts see it as effective?  Remember again in attendance was world class technologist from all over the world and anti-trafficking experts with years of experience, including two TIP Report Heroes.

I first presented Freedom Registry  in 5 minute speed geeking sessions and then in 30 minute breakout discussion. Camp attendees listened intently and asked engaging questions and you could see they like the idea. I was approached for the remainder of the camp by participants wanting to learn more about Freedom Registry. Questions like “when is it coming to Cambodia?’ or Will it be available in the Philippines?” were common.  3 of the presentations of the real time solutions generated by participants mentioned Freedom Registry as tool they would use.  I was astounded by how the trafficking community embraced the idea and how eager they were for it’s launch.

Check out our previous blog on Freedom Registry's New Tools.