ChallengeSlavery.org

“We’re turning the tables on the traffickers.  Just as they are now using technology and the Internet to exploit their victims, we’re going to harness technology to stop them.  We’re encouraging tech companies and advocates and law enforcement -- and we’re also challenging college students -- to develop tools that our young people can use to stay safe online and on their smart phones.”

-- President Obama, Clinton Global Initiative, New York City, September 25, 2012

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announces ChallengeSlavery.org, its Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) Campus Challenge. This Campus Challenge takes a new approach to combatting human trafficking, an approach of open source development.

Launch event: USAID is launching ChallengeSlavery.org at Pepperdine University on October 11, 2012. You can view a livestream of the event beginning at 4:00 p.m. PST (7:00 p.m. EST) here: https://new.livestream.com/pepperdineuniversity/usaid

Open Source Development:  USAID is moving beyond a top-down model of development.  We are creating a new model—calling on tens of thousands of people around the world—to address some of our most difficult development challenges. We are harnessing the creativity and expertise of this broad development community to solve challenges that were once thought intractable. We call this “open source development.” This approach reflects our desire to open development to problem-solvers everywhere—from students on campuses to CEOs of major corporations, from communities of faith to ordinary citizens who themselves are living with these development challenges on a daily basis. USAID is especially eager to engage today’s students who are growing up in a world where real-time information and good ideas are no longer the privilege or property of an elite few but actually are accessible and belong to everyone with a phone in their pocket. Students are uniquely qualified to help stimulate change—for example, each day more and more students are taking a stand suggesting innovative ideas to tackle human rights violations such as protesting the conscription of child soldiers, ending forced labor, and stopping sex trafficking. 

Campus Challenge Overview: USAID’s Counter-Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) Campus Challenge is directly responding to President Obama’s call to recommit and employ new and innovative ways to end modern slavery.  It is just one example of how we are opening development up to different communities.  Included in the implementation of the Agency’s 2012 CTIP Policy, USAID policy and programs place a heightened emphasis on innovation, technology, and empirical research to help prevent trafficking and provide assistance to victims.  The challenge will include a Tech Contest for students, to be followed in 2013 by a research competition for scholars, both of which seek to increase global awareness about trafficking and inspire activism among students and scholars at colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad.

Tech Contest Objectives and Timeline:  The challenge, promoted at ChallengeSlavery.org, calls on university students, in the United States and around the world, to offer creative ideas and solutions to prevent trafficking and provide assistance to victims and survivors. Launching on October 11th, the challenge begins by creating a community of students who can participate in a number of discussions to help educate, provoke thought, and explore specific problems to tackle trafficking.  For example, students will be asked, What lessons can we apply from other social movements, including historical movements against slavery, to combat trafficking in the 21st century? And more specifically, Traffickers use technology to recruit and exploit victims; how can we use technology in a positive, proactive way to prevent trafficking, help rescue victims, and provide assistance to survivors? During these discussions, students are invited to prepare short concept notes along with dynamic video media and/or online media to be submitted from November 28 to January 8.  The community will have another opportunity to participate in the challenge by voting on the best submissions from January 9 to January 30, as one part of the judging process.  In conjunction with partners, USAID will announce the winners and prizes in February 2013. 

Partnerships:  As President Obama noted in New York in September, no government or nation can meet this challenge of combatting trafficking alone. That is why USAID is seeking partnerships with a number of organizations that bring a wealth of expertise and enthusiasm to this endeavor.  By collaborating with groups such as Not for Sale, Slavery Footprint, Free the Slaves and MTV Exit, we hope to maximize our efforts and inspire millions of people already working on this issue and invite new activists to the cause, ultimately, strengthening the movement to return freedom to the millions of people robbed of their dignity every day.  Join us, join them. Go to ChallengeSlavery.org

ChallengeSlavery.org at a glance

Responding to the President's call to action at the Clinton Global Initiative, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will launch ChallengeSlavery.org, its Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) Campus Challenge on October 11th at Pepperdine University.  The intent of the challenge, designed in three phases, is to increase global awareness about trafficking and inspire activism among students and scholars at colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. From October 11 to November 28, we will build a community of students on challengeslavery.org, who will have opportunities to participate in discussion groups on various trafficking subtopics, host online conversations, and crowd source issues framing the problems that solvers will be asked to address in the next phase.  The contest phase, from November 28 to January 8, will be open for applications from the U.S. and international students proposing innovative technological solutions to advance TIP prevention and protection.  From January 9 to 30, the challengeslavery.org community will be invited to rate the proposals and provide suggestions on how submissions can be improved.  On February 1, USAID will announce the semi-finalists, and in the following three weeks, semi-finalist proposals will be judged by an expert CTIP and technologist panel.  The winners will be announced at the end of February, receive a monetary prize, and be invited to share their proposals with donors, CTIP and technology professionals. USAID and its partners; MTV Exit, Slavery Footprint, Free the Slaves, and Not for Sale; view this as an important effort in growing a truly global movement to combat modern day slavery.  As the President said, “our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time….  The change we seek will not come easy, but we can draw strength from the movements of the past.