Stopping the global flow of human trafficking, one of the worst blights on the modern world, presents unique data challenges. Sarah Brown, managing analyst at charity STOP THE TRAFFIK (STT), discusses the charity’s work and its solutions to difficult problems
Founded in 2006, STT works to identify global trends in human trafficking, identify hotspots, help people report trafficking when they see it and raise awareness of its existence.
The most remarkable aspect of this mission is not just the international nature of trafficking, the huge numbers involved, or even the horrific conditions in which people suffer, but the fact that it so often happens under our noses.
Hidden in plain sight in nail bars, car washes, building sites and many other common workplaces, victims of human trafficking and modern slavery are, sadly, all around us.
This presents a unique data challenge for the charity. A typical complaint made by businesses looking to become data-driven is the wealth of data available and the struggle to make sense of, and take insights from, that data. For Brown and the team, however, getting hold of the data in the first place is extremely difficult, given the nature of the business, as well as the fact that it is happening globally.
The charity collects information from any available source, with much of it coming from open source intelligence and data shared by partners.