For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its partners announced today the winners of its Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) Campus Challenge Tech Contest– a global call to college students to develop creative technology solutions to help prevent human trafficking, rescue victims and provide assistance to survivors.
Launched in October 2012, the Campus Challenge invited tech-savvy students to join an online community at www.challengeslavery.org dedicated to combating trafficking – an international crime where traffickers often rely on mobile phones and social networking sites to lure victims. After hosting a series of online student discussions about trafficking facilitated by experts in the field, the Campus Challenge launched the technology contest in November.
A group of three Virginia Tech students won a first place prize of $5,000 for their “Abolishop” concept – a web browser application that helps online shoppers make smart choices by alerting them to products that may have forced or exploited labor in their supply chains. The same group won an additional $2,500 prize for their concept of designing a trafficking hotline accessible through online instant messaging and mobile phones that could be used on Mxit, the largest social network in Africa.
Two other concepts won second place prizes of $2,500 each, including a concept from a Georgetown University student to build a “data ecosystem” for counter-trafficking organizations – a secure online network where they could share data with each other, such as geographic “hot spots” for human trafficking or number of known trafficking victims in specific countries. The network would encourage more collaboration and use of hard data among those working in the counter-trafficking movement. A full list of the winning submissions is posted on www.challengeslavery.org/.
USAID partnered with anti-trafficking organizations Free the Slaves, Not For Sale, Slavery Footprint, MTV Exit, and Abolition International to build an online community of more than 2,200 members from more than 100 countries as part of its Campus Challenge.
Twitter Chat: USAID will be hosting a Twitter expert hour on the C-TIP Campus Challenge and technology’s role in human trafficking with Deputy Assistant Administrator Sarah Mendelson from the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) on Friday, March 22 at 11 a.m. EST. Ask questions via #AskUSAID and follow @SarahMendelson and @USAID.
Last updated: March 22, 2013