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Fighting Human Trafficking Together

Last month in San Francisco, United Way Worldwide brought together a diverse group of business and technology leaders to elevate the fight against human trafficking. Co-hosted with partner Sabre, the convening took an honest look at the kinds of partnerships necessary to combat trafficking in the U.S. and around the world.

Participants spanned the range of the business and technology sector with representatives from companies like Wal-Mart and Costco, UPS and Disney, to Google and Hewlett Packard.

The importance of corporate engagement to addressing the more than 20 million trafficking victims around the world can’t be overstated. They’re essential to taking this fight to scale. And what we heard from them offers a great deal of hope.

Coca-Cola is training employees at factories around the world to spot signs of human trafficking. Sabre, whose technology is behind many of your favorite travel sites, is uniting the tourism industry by equipping it with critical awareness and identification tools.

Western Union is actively monitoring its financial networks to identify and flag signs of human trafficking. They talked about the scale of the issue solely within their own line of sight. They’re not only looking down their own supply chains and enterprise-wide footprints, they’re creating innovative partnerships and leveraging their own expertise.

Google, Micsrosoft, Facebook, Expedia, Sabre, Twitter, Amazon Web Services, and Pinterest are teaming with NGO partner Thorn in the launch of their Innovation Lab where they are collaborating and using their resources and experience to develop and deploy technologies in fighting human trafficking and child exploitation. Salesforce and Palantir are working with Polaris to spot trends within data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

There isn’t a shortage of ideas or passion for the issue. Companies told us that they want to do even more. What they’re looking for are partners to help them build on their efforts. They need the expertise of the anti-trafficking community, as well as opportunities to connect with one another to share learnings and critical resources.

The United Way Center to Combat Slavery & Trafficking continues to work with companies and leaders in the anti-trafficking community to strengthen a shared response. In the coming months, we’ll continue to engage our corporate partners to assess areas for collective action to make human trafficking a normative issue and build greater public and political will to break the back of modern slavery in our generation.

For more information, please contact Mara Vanderslice Kelly, Executive Director of the United Way Center on Human Trafficking & Slavery, at mara.kelly@unitedway.org.

The “Business and Technology Leadership Forum to Combat Human Trafficking” was presented by United Way and Sabre, co-sponsored by The Freedom Fund, Global Fund to End Slavery, Human Rights First and Humanity United.