OYW Ambassador hosts DataJam to combat human trafficking in Colombia

Sebastián Arévalo Sánchez is a One Young World Ambassador representing Colombia. He is the CEO of Fundación Pasos Libres, a foundation that works to prevent human trafficking in young people with the purpose of contributing to the construction of peaceful, fair and sustainable societies. He has also worked at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and was Regional Coordinator of the National Youth Network against Trafficking in Persons of the Latin American Observatory on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants. 

Twitter: @sebas_arevalo_s

The views expressed in this article reflect those of the author, not those of One Young World.

Fundación Pasos Libres, IBM, One Young World, UNODC, the British Embassy and Red Bogotá Líder, run the DataJam Pasos Libres in Bogotá, Colombia. It is a 12-hour innovation competition that brings together young people, companies, international cooperation and governments interested in using the power of data and technology to disrupt human trafficking. This DataJam is born out of the success of the BlueHack Pasos Libres created in 2018 by the OYW Ambassadors Sebastián Arévalo Sanchez, CEO of Fundación Pasos Libres, and Jesus Tabares, Corporate Citizenship Manager at IBM.

This unique competition brought together 91 university students and young professionals who for 12 hours developed data cases and data-bases solutions to identify and georeferenced irregularities and trends linked to human trafficking activity in Colombia and Latin America. Before and during the event, 15 mentors from Fundación Pasos Libres, IBM and UNODC provided advice on human trafficking, data science, statistics, and organized crime.

DataPros, the winning team of DataJam Pasos Libres, developed a predictive model that based on information such as levels of multidimensional poverty, presence of armed actors and illegal crops, predicts the number of unreported human trafficking cases in specific zones of the country. The team also created an artificial intelligence software that extracts on-line sexual services advertisements and generates alerts on activities related to human trafficking in the zones with more unreported cases.

The second place was held by Cognos UN, who created Trafficking GeoMiner, a tool that automatically georeferences, synthesizes and categorizes large volumes of documents and information, such as press releases, court rulings, reports, and victim statements.The team that won the third place, developed "Freedom Analytics" which allows understanding the evolution of certain economic variables like unemployment, GDP, trust in institutions and investment, that have a direct effect on human trafficking dynamics according to data analysis. This dashboard contains public information that is easy to update and interpreted using an app or web platform.

The solutions developed during the event are going to be the boost the design of new technologies, public policies and strategies to disrupt human trafficking more efficiently by better allocating the available resources and translating the few but valuable data on human trafficking into practical tools with the power to have a tangible positive impact.

The DataJam Pasos Libres is set to take also in Medellín, and Cúcuta. Fundación Pasos Libres and IBM are going to keep working closely to revolutionize the way to stop human trafficking in the Americas and all around the world using the power of technology and innovation.