Fight Human Trafficking in the Americas


Modern Day Slavery Infographic

The Business of Modern Day Slavery

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is “the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them.” Human trafficking includes sexual exploitation, informal labor, child soldiers, forced begging, forced marriage, selling children, removal of organs, forced labor and sexual exploitation. For the Americas, on average, 56 percent of detected victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation, and 28 percent were trafficked for forced labor.

Is it really a local problem?

Yes. This problem is happening right here.  

In the United States, Interstate 20 from Atlanta to Birmingham may be considered the “sex trafficking superhighway,” but Interstate 65 – which connects Birmingham to Chicago – also facilitates the trafficking of victims.

In addition, the National Center for Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) has reported an increase in calls related to human trafficking in Indiana; in 2017, the NHTH received 283 calls to the hotline, and 93 cases of human trafficking were identified. Of the 93 cases, 66 percent were sex trafficking, and 31 percent of the trafficked victims were minors.

Students working to make a difference.

In recognition of this global problem, the Purdue Polytechnic Institute - along with co-sponsors Discovery Park, Data Mine and the Purdue Peace Project - hosted a Human Trafficking Giant Leap on February 14, 2019. At this event, we challenged Purdue University students to team up and “hack the problem” by designing socio-technical solutions that will help end human trafficking in the Americas. Students worked through the night and presented their ideas on the morning of February 15, 2019.

Our panel of judges reviewed solutions from more than 25 student teams. After three hours of deliberation, we selected first- and second-place teams, as well as several honorable mentions. (View our 2019 winners here.)


For more information about this or future human trafficking design challenges, please contact Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar.

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