The Child Sex Trafficking Team (CSTT) in the Office of the Texas Governor awarded a $172,660 grant to Allies Against Slavery in Austin, Texas to launch the Lighthouse Data Initiative to analyze and visualize human trafficking data statewide.
Allies is required to contribute a 20 percent match in cash or in-kind toward the project, said John Nehme, CEO of Allies Against Slavery.
“The State of Texas will not tolerate human trafficking,” said Gov. Greg Abbott. “We will use all of the tools available, including cutting edge data and technology, to stop human traffickers and identify ways to better serve victims. Working together, we will reach our goal of eradicating human trafficking from Texas.”
The current landscape of information about human trafficking is fragmented. Over the next year, Allies will architect a platform to collect and compare data from local, regional, and national sources, providing clearer insight about what trafficking looks like in Texas.
“Texas has made great strides to combat human trafficking, yet the hidden nature of the crime makes it difficult to see and respond to, much less measure,” said Nehme. “The Lighthouse Data Initiative will illuminate this problem so we can better understand the experiences of victims and learn from trends to proactively disrupt exploitation.”
Stakeholders will use the analytical capabilities of the Lighthouse platform to discover previously unseen connections in the data. The goal of the initiative is to help Texas build the collective intelligence necessary to create effective, data driven solutions to human trafficking.
“We’ll collect information related to victim identification, care coordination, prosecutions, and other related data. The idea is to then layer in additional sources like relevant geo-spatial data, economic data, etc.,”explained Nehme.
“Lighthouse will help our state increase victim identification, provide the best survivor services, inform strategic planning, and craft policy,” said Nehme. “Traffickers are using technology to exploit, but we can use it for good. At the end of the day, data is a powerful tool that helps tell the story of how we can best protect freedom and dignity.”