IOM Enters New Collaboration to Promote Use of Technology to Combat Human Trafficking

Geneva – IOM recently joined a coalition of global technology companies, civil society organizations, and UN agencies to launch “Tech Against Trafficking”, a collaborative to support the eradication of human trafficking.

Founding members British Telecom (BT), Microsoft, and Nokia have been advancing the dialogue sparked at a June 2017 event, addressing “The Role of Digital Technology in Tackling Modern Slavery”, to formally explore how technology can be better utilized to stop human trafficking. “Tech Against Trafficking” will build on and amplify the potential of some of these companies.

“We need to collaborate more closely as an industry and together join forces with experts in the fight to stop human trafficking,” said Laura Okkonen, Head of Human Rights at Nokia. “That way, we will maximize the positive impact of technology while also continuing to foster an open and transparent dialogue within the coalition, as well as with our other stakeholders.”

More than 40 million people around the world live in situations of modern slavery as victims of human trafficking and its associated forms of exploitation. Digital information and communication technology companies offer opportunities to create a step change in the effort to eradicate human trafficking. In one recent example, a tech company was able to track a ship off the coast of Papua New Guinea that was carrying victims. This action, in collaboration with investigative journalists at the Associated Press, resulted in the liberation of 2,000 people.

“Traffickers are adept at using new information and communications technologies to exploit people,” said Anh Nguyen, Head of IOM’s Migrant Protection and Assistance Division in Geneva. “We must be creative: technological advances can also be used to help combat trafficking, and better identify and protect victims. IOM is therefore very pleased that leading tech companies have joined forces, and we look forward to supporting their efforts.”

In 2018, “Tech Against Trafficking” will focus on mapping and analysing the landscape of existing tech-focused initiatives to tackle human trafficking. The key findings will be shared publicly by the end of the year and will help the coalition develop a three-year strategy. Focus areas may include cloud and mobile apps; basic hardware; national helplines; data tools; and supply chain transparency tools; all of which will support all members of the coalition to raise awareness of human trafficking and guide responses.

IOM is also a member of the Responsible and Ethical Private Sector Coalition against Trafficking Initiative (RESPECT), which brings together key thought leaders, practitioners, and policy makers to identify solutions to public and private sector challenges surrounding human trafficking. Read here

For more information please contact Mathieu Luciano at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 94 69, Email: