According to President Biden’s proclamation this January as National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, “Human trafficking […] is an abhorrent abuse of power and a profoundly immoral crime that strikes at the safety, health, and dignity of millions of people worldwide.” And, although found in every country and every region, one could say trafficking in persons remains a hidden crime. Perpetrators can operate in the dark corners of the internet and the underbelly of the global economy to entrap victims for sexual exploitation, forced work, domestic servitude and other forms of exploitation. This is why it is so important for organizations that strive to form coalitions – partnerships between law enforcement, communities and local stakeholders – exist, be funded and work to reduce the staggering growth in human trafficking globally and in the United States. This growth has only been exacerbated by the pandemic; a shiftless job force; the uprooting and displacement of families when faced with eviction and foreclosure; and poorly regulated immigration policies, which can be conduits to increasing the volume of victims.
Engage Together® is one such organization fighting this growth, which offers a transformational community assessment and mapping tool, known as the Engage Together® Project, for communities to strengthen insights, strategies, partnerships and resources to combat human trafficking. Helmed by Founder/CEO Ashleigh S. Chapman, a human rights lawyer with more than 20 years of experience, Engage Together® realized some of its strongest capabilities when it began working with John Fitzgerald, a partner at Pomerol Partners, a data analytics and visualization consultancy with offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, and, South Africa.
Pomerol Partners primarily uses Qlik for its consultancy work, and, with the support of Qlik’s Corporate Responsibility program, Engage Together® was able to create an application that serves up dashboards that enable communities to best understand the resources available to them in the fight against human trafficking. These resources, frequently unknown to communities (or known in only fragmentary ways), are often uncoordinated or simply underfunded. With Engage Together®’s community assessment and mapping tool, communities can unify their efforts for maximum impact, working across their primary and secondary service areas (e.g., prevention, rescue/exit, legislative reform, restoration, training, outreach, policy, reintegration, temporary shelter, aftercare and more) to form a community-specific and community-centric solution to the problem of human trafficking.
“What is perhaps the greatest challenge in current approaches to combatting human trafficking in any given community is the reality that so much of the effort is siloed. Without the ability to see the whole and each other, we are guessing at what we need to do to combat human trafficking, instead of knowing for certain what is and is not happening, who is and is not engaged, what services are or are not active, and where those services are or are not available,” said Chapman. “Engage Together’s work, and the essential emphasis on data that drives it, shows that a concerted, fully engaged community can marshal the resources needed to end and prevent human trafficking, and to protect those at risk of exploitation. We work with communities not only to inform their efforts, but to catalyze whole community collaboration and leave them with reports and recommendations to more effectively combat human trafficking and care well for those already impacted by it.”
To further Engage Together®’s mission, the organization reached out to the governors’ offices of all 50 U.S. states, offering its services through the community assessment tool alongside an online training series, called Justice U™ Essential Knowledge for Addressing Commercial Sexual Exploit on of Children. The series, provided online in mobile format, is intended to equip child-serving professionals with foundational and advanced role-based knowledge to help them better understand human trafficking risk factors, screening and identification tactics for victims, as well as trauma-informed care frameworks and methodologies for treatment and rehabilitation. Participants can receive digital credentials and continuing education units after taking these self-paced modules.
Engage Together® is also offering a standalone human trafficking awareness course for National Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month. This one-hour, free, mobile-friendly course will help all professionals better understand human trafficking, the indicators they are likely to see in their local communities, and how to report human trafficking when they see it. Register for the course here: https://learnwithjusticeu.com/awareness.
“At Qlik, it always heartens and humbles me to learn of the great work of organizations like Engage Together, and that our company can provide software able to help vulnerable populations,” said Julie Kae, Qlik’s VP of Sustainability and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “Human trafficking is a scourge – but not an ineradicable. We should remain hopeful, and I am glad that we at Qlik can do our part to help buoy the pragmatism and solution-oriented focus behind Engage Together’s work.”