White House Announces Pathways to Freedom, a new Partnership for Freedom challenge

At the President’s Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking, the White House today announced the Partnership for Freedom (PFF)’s third challenge, Pathways to Freedom. It will officially launch in early 2017 and will challenge local communities to address practices, policies, and perceptions so that every survivor of trafficking receives the respect, support, and opportunities that they deserve. Sign up here to stay tuned for more information in 2017.

Pathways to Freedom follows on the heels of our first challenge, Reimagine: Opportunity, which supported innovation in victims services and the second challenge, Rethink Supply Chains, which mobilized the tech community to fight labor trafficking in global supply chains. 

The Partnership for Freedom, a multi-million dollar public-private partnership dedicated to spurring innovation in the fight against human trafficking, was first announced by President Obama in 2012. 

Meet The Rethink Supply Chains Challenge Winners

We are pleased to announce Sustainability Incubator and Trace Register as the grand prize winning team in Rethink Supply Chains: The Tech Challenge to Fight Labor Trafficking. The Partnership for Freedom launched the innovation competition in October 2015, seeking technological solutions to help identify and address labor trafficking in global supply chains.

Labor trafficking in global seafood supply chains has been well-documented in recent years. Sustainability Incubator, an advisory firm that helps seafood companies advance sustainability and solve human rights challenges, and Trace Register, a traceability software company, have teamed up to develop the winning solution to help companies better understand and address the risks of labor trafficking. The team will receive a $250,000 grant to support the Labor Safe Digital Certificate, a digital risk assessment tool that will help seafood suppliers and major retailers better screen for risks of forced labor and address high-risk zones within their supply chains.

“The presence of forced labor in corporate supply chains is a systemic problem that has been difficult to address,” said Catherine Chen, director of investments of Humanity United, which coordinates the Partnership for Freedom. “It is our hope that these technologies will give businesses, workers, and governments helpful tools for greater transparency and visibility.”

“This support from Humanity United will make it possible to help combat modern slavery and suffering around the world,” said Phil Werdal, CEO of Trace Register. “We look forward to working with Humanity United and Sustainability Incubator, as well as many producers, suppliers, and retailers who are committed to eliminating forced labor from the seafood supply chain.”

“The challenge has validated our efforts to rethink the opportunities for traceability to help combat modern slavery in seafood supply chains,” said Katrina Nakamura of Sustainability Incubator. “We now have the resources needed to develop the technology to combine product tracking and slavery risk identification.”

Good World Solutions was named the runner-up winner and will receive a $50,000 grant to advance their LaborLink mobile technology for improving visibility of trafficked workers by capturing and analyzing worker feedback.

“The Rethink Supply Chains competition has catalyzed our Laborlink team around the issue of trafficking and offered invaluable insights on how to adapt our tools to help companies surface risk of forced labor within their supply chains,” said Heather Franzese, co-founder and Executive Director of Good World Solutions. “Funding from the challenge will enable us to launch a dedicated survey and new community-based methodology to survey workers.”

To learn more about the challenge and the winning ideas, please visit www.rethinksupplychains.org.

We look forward to following the winning teams as they work with Humanity United over the next year to deploy their technologies. Congratulations to Sustainability Incubator and Trace Register, and Good World Solutions!

The Rethink Supply Chains Accelerator

Since the announcement of the five finalist teams in the Rethink Supply Chains challenge in January, the teams have participated in a range of activities and events designed to help them refine and develop their original ideas. 

In February, the five finalist teams (GeoPoll, Good World Solutions, IST Research, Sustainability Incubator & Trace Register, and Ulula) convened in Washington, D.C. for a Boot Camp, where they participated in expert sessions, user-testing and prototyping exercises, and discussion panels to gain insights for improving their solutions. Experts in labor trafficking, product development, and business modeling, as well as representatives of the Partnership for Freedom, provided expertise and coaching to teams to help them refine their concepts.

In addition, throughout the Finalist Accelerator, the finalists have been meeting with five industry-leading mentors to source feedback as they iterate their solutions. The Challenge mentors bring a variety of experience and skill from across the fields of labor trafficking, product development, and supply chain technology.

We are thrilled to have Erika, Stephen, David, Shawn, and Tikva as Challenge mentors. We’d like to thank them all for their continued time and commitment in helping the finalists refine their solutions!

Meet our mentors:

Erika Block, Founder & CEO, Local Orbit

Picture1Bio: Erika is the Founder and CEO of Local Orbit, the supply chain platform for people who are creating a new, connected food economy. Prior to Local Orbit, Erika co-founded and ran an entrepreneurial arts organization, producing cross-sector partnership events in the US, Great Britain and South Africa. She led the renovation of a vacant building in Detroit into a theater, gallery and barmaid worked with vendors to source local food for events. She directed and produced 15 plays. She decided to create Local Orbit as a result of interviews she did while researching a project about eating. Erika has also worked as a technology and business process consultant, focusing on strategic planning, collaboration, operational efficiency and communications strategy. Throughout her career, Erika has created collaborative environments that facilitate learning and action. She has an MFA from Columbia University and studied Interactive Technology at NYU.  Erika comes from a family of fruit peddlers, meat processors restaurant owners and wholesalers. She is a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow. Other awards include Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40.
Areas of Expertise: Supply Chain Technology

 

Stephen Lee, Director of Product Development, Caravan Studios 

Picture2Bio: Stephen Lee is Director of Product Development at Caravan Studios, a division of TechSoup. Caravan Studios builds apps that help communities organize, access, and apply local resources to their most pressing problems. Stephen has worked extensively at the intersection of technology, social innovation, and entrepreneurship, and brings to Caravan Studios over 20 years experience leading teams in product design, development, and delivery. Stephen has degrees in Computer Science and Sustainable International Development.
Areas of Expertise: Product Design & Management, ICT4D, Nonprofit Management

 

David Lifson, Product Executive, Originate

Picture3Bio: David Lifson is a Product Executive at Originate having been a Sr. Director of Product Management at Poppin. Formerly, he was GM of Digital Product and Engineering at General Assembly. Prior to joining General Assembly, he co-founded Postling, a social media management tool for small businesses that he sold to LocalVox Media in 2012. He has also been VP of Product at Etsy, Technical Product Manager for Amazon’s Personalized Recommendations team, and started his career as a software engineer on Amazon’s Community team.
Areas of Expertise: Product Development, Social Software

  

Shawn MacDonald, Director of Programs and Research, Verité

Bio: Shawn MacDonald is Verité’s Director of Programs and Research. He’s responsible for a variety of research, training, consulting, multi-stakeholder dialogue, and policy advocacy programs focused on issues like forced labor, freedom of association, compliance program design, and standards-setting. He regularly leads workshops, trainings, and multi-stakeholder meetings on labor and other corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues and advises business leaders on CSR strategy and program design. His work focuses on a variety of business sectors, including seafood, electronics, agriculture, construction, apparel, and light manufacturing. Before joining Verité, Shawn was Director at the Fair Labor Association, Vice President of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, and co-founder of the Development and Employment Policy Project. Additionally, he worked for a variety of international NGOs in Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. He holds a Ph.D. from George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, an AB in History from Harvard University.
Areas of Expertise: Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Entrepreneurship, Labor Rights

  

Tikva Morowati, UX Lead of New Products, Google

Picture4Bio: Tikva is an entrepreneur, curator of stories of invention and innovation, and creator of new products. She is a UX Lead of New Products at Google, where she is leading the agile, user-centered research, design and development of early stage products for the physical world and develops strategies and insights about people and organizational processes to transform business outcomes. Prior to that she defined and designed new mobile products at Facebook and for startups through New York’s research and design shop, Charming Robot. She can be found on Twitter @tikkers.
Areas of Expertise: UX, Product Development

Up Close with Team… Ulula

This post is part of a special “Up Close with Team…” series, featuring Q&As with the five finalists of the Rethink Supply Chains Challenge.

Ulula_Logo (1)Ulula proposes a mobile payment and feedback service for migrant workers to increase transparency and accountability in the recruitment process. The team is one of five Rethink Supply Chains finalists competing for a $250,000 grand prize. Stay tuned for the winner announcement in April!

Why is this Challenge important to you? What do you hope your solution will achieve?
Partnership for Freedom is a unique opportunity for Ulula to integrate mobile money into its information platform to create a win-win for migrant workers and employers to combat labor trafficking. With Spartacus, workers will receive critical information about their rights and get paid by their employers through their mobile phones. Mobile money creates transparency and limits leakages to improve workers’ incomes. Employers benefit from a simple system that automates payments and generate automatic payroll for their operations.

What inspired your solution?
For a decade Antoine, Founder & CEO, worked in countries rich with oil, gas and minerals to combat corruption and mismanagement. He saw communities in Nigeria and Peru losing their livelihoods with the development of large natural resource projects. He also witnessed the rising conflicts between communities and mining companies. Antoine saw the potential of simple mobile phones to give a voice to communities – particularly the poor and more vulnerable groups – and foster a new social compact with governments and companies.

Your team has entered the Finalist Accelerator phase, which includes expert mentorship and participation in a live boot camp. What do you hope to learn through the process?
We want to take advantage of the presence of experts with practical experience of labor trafficking to build a prototype that can make a difference for over 200 million migrant workers around the world. We want to learn the details of the migrant workers’ recruitment process and journey, the role of recruitment agencies and the companies to design a product that can align them to create more transparent recruitment practices and more effective systems to get paid and send money back home.

Up Close with Team… Sustainability Incubator & Trace Register

This post is part of a special “Up Close with Team…” series, featuring Q&As with the five finalists of the Rethink Supply Chains Challenge.
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Sustainability Incubator and Trace Register’s solution centers on traceability software that enables seafood suppliers to voluntarily report on the origins of their catches and vessel working conditions. The team is one of five Rethink Supply Chains finalists competing for a $250,000 grand prize. Stay tuned for the winner announcement in April!

Why is this Challenge important to you? What do you hope your solution will achieve?
This challenge is important to us as developers of business-to-business applications for a high quality standard in seafood. Our clients are trying to source quality seafood, and we offer a combined solution for ethical and sustainable sourcing that otherwise does not yet exist in the seafood sector. Seafood is sourced by people and includes the seafarers handling 90% of the world’s trade. Most crew and most fish have origins in developing countries, and there is a very real slavery hazard today despite widespread claims of seafood sustainability. Buyers also have the hazard of importing illegally fished products. Our expertise and technology, with support for further development through this challenge, can help companies directly address these problems.

What inspired your solution?
Trace Register believes that digital traceability and analytics begin and end with people. Our solutions have been created to help companies in the complex seafood supply chain deal with the many business challenges they face, such as food waste, product rejection due to non-conformities, inefficient product recalls, difficulty meeting regulations on labeling, as well as difficulty in confirming a product is sustainable. In developing our enhanced traceability technology, we recognized the need to digitally prove that product data meets a set of requirements, whilst maintaining confidential business information, called digital certificates. This is a powerful tool that is adaptable and includes algorithms that can help pinpoint supply chain issues, including slavery. The Labor Safe Screen algorithm is a powerful algorithm for identifying slavery and illegal fishing in seafood production, and we are plugging it into the Trace Register system. Working together with Sustainability Incubator, we are combining evidence-based research with real world practices and supply chain data to identify human rights conditions in the seafood industry.

Your team has entered the Finalist Accelerator phase, which includes expert mentorship and participation in a live boot camp. What do you hope to learn through the process?
Our goal is to provide expertise and tools that will enable the seafood sector to improve conditions for people and oceans as they deliver consistently good food. We are hoping for fresh ideas to include in a product that will be well received by supply chain participants as both a way to reduce slavery in supply chains as well as being a valuable tool to drive supply chain efficiencies. Different types of evidence are available from different people at different places in production. We need to understand the user as an information provider and as a consumer, and we hope to learn how to speak to and engage users better. If the boot camp gives us the pathway to help turn perceptions of voluntary corporate efforts against slavery into a value-add – where it is still a scary proposition in the seafood sector – then this will be a key learning benefit.

Up Close with Team… Good World Solutions

This post is part of a special “Up Close with Team…” series, featuring Q&As with the five finalists of the Rethink Supply Chains Challenge.

Cisco Foundation (Main Images)-44 (1)Good World Solutions’ Laborlink Trafficking Module analyzes and maps forced labor using a mobile communication channel between workers and supply chain leaders to report on working conditions. The team is one of five Rethink Supply Chains finalists competing for a $250,000 grand prize. Stay tuned for the winner announcement in April!

Why is this Challenge important to you? What do you hope your solution will achieve?
71% of companies believe there is a strong likelihood of slavery in their supply chains. There are an estimated 11.7 million forced laborers in Asia alone. Yet companies know very little about how to identify and address trafficking. Workers are in the best position to report abusive conditions, but they need safe, anonymous channels to do so. Laborlink has five years of experience capturing data from workers and translating it into actionable analytics. Our new Laborlink Trafficking Module will dramatically improve visibility – capturing millions of data points from workers and mapping risks of forced labor in a new way.

What inspired your solution?
While monitoring working conditions in factories in China and Pakistan, Heather Franzese (Co-founder, Executive Director) saw a disconnect between the workers making the product and, thousands of miles away, the company buying it. At the same time, these workers started to carry their own mobile phones, inspiring Heather to develop a new way of connecting with workers. Since 2010, Laborlink has provided more than 600,000 workers across 16 countries with a secure channel to report on real factory conditions, 365 days a year. With more frequent and accessible communication, Laborlink is quickly detecting workplace hazards and labor abuses by surfacing unheard worker voices. Building on this success, we believe that developing a Trafficking Module is a natural extension of our organization’s mission to use data to create safe and respectful workplaces.

Your team has entered the Finalist Accelerator phase, which includes expert mentorship and participation in a live boot camp. What do you hope to learn through the process?
Our team is excited to expand our successful and scalable tools to address and prevent the systemic issues of forced labor with the appropriate support from NGOs and government agencies. Informed by their expertise, we will develop a trust with these vulnerable worker groups while also focusing on the growing requirements companies face under new legislation like the UK Modern Slavery Bill and California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. After participating in the live boot camp, we will be on an accelerated pathway to develop new tools – including an Index Survey, M-Learning Content, and Risk Map – to accurately identify, inform, and remedy forced labor issues in manufacturing supply chains.

Up Close with Team… GeoPoll

This post is part of a special “Up Close with Team…” series, featuring Q&As with the five finalists of the Rethink Supply Chains Challenge.

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GeoPoll proposes a mobile survey platform that collects and shares labor condition data from workers via SMS, Interactive Voice Response, and mobile web. The team is one of five Rethink Supply Chains finalists competing for a $250,000 grand prize. Stay tuned for the winner announcement in April!



Why is this Challenge important to you? What do you hope your solution will achieve? As part of B Corp Mobile Accord, GeoPoll builds impactful and sustainable data products that scale quickly to dozens of developing countries. GeoPoll leverages the wide reach of the mobile phone to reach citizens across the globe and collect data on important issues including food security, agriculture, and labor practices. By communicating directly with workers through their mobile phones, we hope this solution will prove to be an effective way to identify trafficking and poor labor conditions across the globe, and that our data will be useful to NGOs and governments seeking solutions to these issues.

geopoll-nairobi-research-team (1)What inspired your solution?
GeoPoll is a mobile surveying platform which collects data on a wide range of topics for governments, NGOs, and commercial organizations. GeoPoll conducts both one-off surveys and ongoing data collection on topics including food security and audience measurement by asking thousands of citizens questions daily. Leveraging this approach, we intend to rethink supply chains by supplying labor welfare advocates and industries with regular data that will help them keep tabs on working conditions around the world, starting with the fishing industry.

Your team has entered the Finalist Accelerator phase, which includes expert mentorship and participation in a live boot camp. What do you hope to learn through the process?
We are excited to gain more knowledge about supply chain monitoring and learn from peers who are pioneering how data can help both advocacy groups and companies looking to improve supply chain transparency. We look forward to collaborating with others to ensure the data we collect is useful for both of these groups.

Meet the Rethink Supply Chains Finalists

We are thrilled to announce the five finalists in Rethink Supply Chains: The Tech Challenge to Fight Labor Trafficking. The Partnership for Freedom launched the innovation competition in October 2015, seeking technological solutions to help identify and address labor trafficking in global supply chains.

The finalists were selected by a panel of judges with expertise across corporate supply chains, human rights, philanthropy, and investing. Each finalist will receive $20,000 and proceed to the Finalist Accelerator round of the competition to further develop their proposed solutions with support from subject matter experts. One Grand Prize Winner and one Runner-Up will be announced in April 2016, and will be awarded $250,000 and $50,000, respectively.

“Forced labor in global supply chains is a systemic problem. The solutions surfaced by these finalists leverage technology to combat this problem by bringing transparency to global supply chains and elevating workers’ voices across industries,” said Catherine Chen, director of investments at Humanity United.

Congratulations to the finalists:

  • Good World Solutions
    Laborlink Trafficking Module: Capturing & Mapping Millions of Data Points to Eliminate Forced Labor
    Analyzes and maps forced labor using a mobile communication channel between workers and supply chain leaders to report on working conditions.
  • IST Research
    PULSE Deployable Labor Trafficking System
    Data analytics system that scrapes web data to monitor social media and public internet sources for indicators of labor exploitation.
  • GeoPoll
    Identifying Human Rights Issues In the Fishing Industry Through Mobile Surveys
    Mobile survey platform that collects and shares labor condition data from workers via SMS, Interactive Voice Response, and mobile web.
  • Sustainability Incubator and Trace Register
    Building Trust in Fishing at Sea
    Traceability software that enables seafood suppliers to voluntarily report on the origins of their catches and vessel working conditions.
  • Ulula
    SPARTACUS: A Global Mobile Platform for Empowering Migrant Workers to End Slavery
    Mobile payment and feedback service for migrant workers to increase transparency and accountability in the recruitment process.

We look forward to seeing how the finalists refine their solutions during the Finalist Accelerator as they compete for $300,000 in remaining prizes.


Download the finalist announcement press release>>