24 February 2014

Launching Freedom Collaborative

By Taylor Poe

At 1 am on December 2nd 2013, WE FINISHED IT!

We launched Freedom Collaborative — a web application we've been working on at Chab Dai for the past three + years. It's a project designed to help bring new connectivity to the counter trafficking movement-at-large.

The launch

The feature release that held the most anticipation for me personally was the Freedom Library. I often cringe when I hear statements like this, but I'm going to say it anyway, this resource center is undeniably innovative. I'll let this page convince you of this and will use this blog space to tell you a little bit about its creation.

We started designing this collaborative resource center in 2012 — spending a few months researching the latest paradigms in wiki library models. Our design process was conducted in Cambodia that summer during a two month sprint of furious white-board writing & prototyping.

As for the Library's creation, I want to say a special thanks to Rob Perrett & Joy Anchalee P. Roberts for all of the time, energy and expertise they put into crafting this feature. Rob is an IT professional from Australia who has visited nearly every country in the world; Joy is a metadata expert at the American University of Cairo. While I'm at it, I'd like to to thank our entire advisory board — who has put so much into this project over the years:

As we upload our initial data input of resources over the next few days, our counter-trafficking library system will be set to become the largest of its kind in the world. And our team is pretty excited about this.

Other updates for the launch include the addition of personal profiles and the extension of the Freedom Registry to make it a global platform. Read about these updates here or you can view this PDF format.

We're not stopping in 2014

Below is our project schedule for a few of the major tools we are working on building for the community this year.

And since you've read this far, here's a reward: a premiere sneak peek at one of them. It's a human trafficking news aggregator that pulls in posts across all social media channels which use the hashtag #humantrafficking. We're working on incorporating it fully into the app before publicly announcing it, but go ahead and test it out by using the hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & Google+.

I hope you will join us in this new and exciting collaborative platform.

21 February 2014

The True Celebrities of the Movement

By Helen Sworn

With the vast amount of media coverage on celebrities in relation to issues on human trafficking, poverty and human rights, I thought it was time to raise the profile of the true celebrities of the movement. However, it is unlikely you have ever heard of them. They have never written a book or been featured in a glossy magazine, attended a Hollywood award ceremony or had the paparazzi follow them. Their work is not glamorous, and in most cases, it is undertaken in dirty and humid communities and sometimes hostile situations. It is in these situations where they believe they can have the most impact on the most vulnerable. They do not see themselves as heroes or deserving of features and ceremonies highlighting their work, nor does the public see them as such - but I do.  I am talking about the true heroes of the movement, our Khmer Leaders.

While raising funds for organizations are important, their impact goes beyond the organization. In their current projects and communities, our leaders are explaining the need for protection and valuing of a child's dignity and ways in which to protect these rights. Some of our leaders are traveling the dirt roads of Cambodian provinces to listen to the experiences of 128 survivors of sex trafficking. This way we can understand how to assist survivors more efficiently within our programs and help support them in the reintegration process with their families and communities. Our leaders have been doing this for almost 5 years now and are committed to these amazing participants for a total of 10 years.

Many of our Khmer Leaders are supporting counselors and social workers that are often overwhelmed by the daily stories and trauma they hear from survivors. They work tirelessly with the Cambodian anti-human trafficking police to help close cases and find justice for these survivors. Others are meeting key community officials, such as teachers, village chiefs and religious leaders to show them how in their positions of influence, they can protect the most vulnerable populations within their communities. Last year alone they educated more than 11,000 people.

I could go on and on about the true dedication and efforts of our Khmer Leaders but I hope I have proved my point. Let's not forget who the true celebrities of the movement are!