IOM, Microsoft Step Up Fight against Human Trafficking with New Crowdfunding Portal
Thailand – IOM and Microsoft Tuesday announced the launch of 6Degree.org, the first crowdfunding portal that enables the public to directly support the voluntary return and sustainable reintegration of individual human trafficking victims. Through each victim’s story, 6Degree will also foster greater public understanding about human trafficking, a crime that affects 20.9 million men, women and children around the world.
Backed by the Microsoft Azure cloud-computing platform, 6Degree was developed by IOM’s human trafficking awareness campaign, IOM X, which is carried out with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and working in collaboration with independent software vendor AvePoint.
“6Degree is the first time we have been able to provide individual donors with direct access to supporting a proven and time-tested mechanism for helping individual survivors of trafficking,” said Andrew Bruce, Regional Director, IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. “I am excited by the possibilities this technology opens up for organizations such as IOM, and the opportunity to give more victims of human trafficking a second chance at life.”
As the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration, with 157 member states and 480 field locations around the world, IOM has provided more than 70,000 survivors of human trafficking with humanitarian, medical, legal and migration support since 1997. On average, IOM helps 6,000-7,000 individual trafficking survivors every year.
IOM has the human resources, processes and facilities to help these human trafficking victims. With additional funding, the cost of shelter, medical and legal assistance, repatriation, and education or skills development to prevent re-trafficking can be covered to meet demand.
“The growing operational challenges of migration management demand out-of-the-box thinking on how best they can be tackled,” said Stefan Sjöström, Vice President for Public Sector, Microsoft Asia. “The use of technology shows enormous potential in this respect, and combining Microsoft’s deep expertise in deploying cloud computing technology to support public sector endeavors inspires confidence in our efforts to aid human trafficking victims.”
6Degree is the first crowdfunding portal that meets the strict requirements of IOM’s victim protection and privacy standards. Because a survivor’s anonymity is their most important form of protection, 6Degree does not use photographs of faces and modifies information that could compromise their safety or chances of a normal life. Each survivor’s story is told through interactive story maps, which strike a balance between protecting the victim’s identity, and telling a compelling story to potential funders.
By following the stories icon by icon, the user can understand the circumstances that led to the person being trafficked, appreciate the challenges faced during exploitation, learn how they reclaimed their freedom and discover what their dreams and ambitions are for the future.
“6Degree is about connecting individual users with individual human stories,” said Tara Dermott, IOM X Programme Leader. “Parallel to the funding aspect, these stories will help develop awareness, build understanding and nurture commitment towards stopping human trafficking through the many actions of a united collective.”
IOM’s on-the-ground Case Officers will determine the specific amount of funding required for each victim’s voluntary return.
Three ways 6Degree.org will make an impact: