During a weekend hackathon, we were challenged to provide solutions to common problems within social justice. For my team, we took on the issue of human trafficking but before we could create a solution I told the team we needed to better understand the problem.
I turned to a representative from the International Justice Mission to find out more about where they had the most trouble. It wasn't finding victims of trafficking. It wasn't getting them the services they need. The root of the problem lay within communication between the back office and the "soldiers on the ground". Trying to get the information about the victims to the back office the fastest is vital in the battle for the victims. Then I drilled deeper to better understand the issues the feet on the ground are facing.
- They are often in dangerous situations, where showing they have a smartphone will result in them being mugged or their car being broken into
- They cannot take the phone with them into places where the victims are
- Cell signal is often lacking
- English is often a second language & written language isn't always strong
Therefore the solution had to be an application that facilitated communication, saved the collected data without a cell connection, and could be something they could do as if they were leaving a clipboard in their car before leaving on the dangerous mission of researching and rescuing victims of trafficking.
Our solution was Free As Me. The application allows the researcher to collect a voice message & any other data, as well as the priority of the issue, into the database which can then be sent to the back office in the background once the signal is achieved. Thus allowing the team to move quickly to issues of trafficking.
We not only won the hackathon as Best of Social Justice but we were also offered jobs with IJM.