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New center harnesses mobile technology to fight trafficking

New America Media
 — Apr 19 2012 - 3:09pm

In the effort to combat human trafficking, mobile technology is becoming an essential tool. That’s why in late 2011, Kavitha Sreeharsha and colleague Kelly Heinrich left their positions with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice to join the fight.

In October 2011, the pair began the anti-trafficking group Global Freedom Center, which focuses on harnessing the growing potential of smartphone technology to spread the word about human trafficking.

“Computers aren’t the only way to stay connected,” Sreeharsha says. “More and more people … are getting smart phones. A group in India can easily communicate with a similar group in West Africa, and our network wants to make this even easier.”

The latest statistics show  35 percent of all Americans own a smartphone, which they use to access the Internet at least once per day. Worldwide, users of smartphones and tablet devices are expected to top 1 billion by 2015, with some 300,000 applications now available.

One of those, FREE2WORK, developed by Bay Area-based Not For Sale, allows consumers to scan a product’s barcode before purchase, accessing information and ratings on what – if anything – the manufacturer is doing to combat forced and child labor.

Read the complete story at New America Media. 

Read coverage of human trafficking in the San Francisco Public Press Spring 2012 print edition, on sale at retail outlets around San Francisco and online at