LARGE BORDER, INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HUBS MAKE TEXAS A FOCUS AREA FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKERS
In 2014, there were 35.8 million slaves in the world. With an estimated population of 7 billion, that means that nearly one in every 200 people worldwide is considered a slave.
80% of the victims are women and girls. Explore more sobering statistics in the Human Traffic Visualized infographic below.
Human trafficking is a massive problem. It’s the second biggest illegal activity, sandwiched between drugs and arms dealing. Criminals make an estimated $32 billion annually from trafficking and sexual exploitation. Drugs can be sold only once whereas humans can be sold over and again. And while India has nearly half the world’s slaves, $15.5 billion of this money comes from industrialized countries.
FIGHTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING WITH TECHNOLOGY
Technology companies — especially those serving the travel and tourism industries — have a unique position to address this pressing problem. Many human traffickers use commercial transportation to illegally move people from place to place, and pattern recognition offers a data-driven lens to identify potential criminals.
The Sabre commitment to combat human trafficking began in 2012 with the creation of the Passport to Freedom program designed to increase awareness of the issue within the travel and tourism industry. Survivors are a priority — it’s not easy to rebuild a life after facing such trauma. The Passport to Freedom scholarship program awards grants to survivors in support of secondary educational pursuits, a means of supporting sustainable jobs opportunities.
TRAVEL PROVIDERS TAKE A STAND
The advisory committee includes other leading travel providers who have also taken a brave stand to fight this issue: Jennifer Townsend of BCD travel; Faye Tylee of Wyndham Hotel Group; Brenda Schultz of Carlson Rezidor; Derek and Steven Smith of Airlink all represent the travel industry.
On behalf of Sabre, Toya Walker, Senior Advisor for State Government & External Affairs, recently accepted a certificate from the Texas Secretary of State that recognizes this ongoing commitment to an issue that deeply affects the state of Texas.This support aims to help break the cycle of survivors returning to trafficking due to limited income and career options. For many, this is the only life they have ever known.
Walker, in discussing the reasons behind fighting to end human trafficking, points out that Texas is a critical juncture for this crime. The State of Texas is also one of the hotbeds of human trafficking, something that Walker became aware of soon after joining the company.
“Here in Texas, the Interstate 10 corridor has been identified by the Department of Justice as the primary human trafficking route in the United States.”
“Until coming to Sabre I wasn’t aware of how big this issue really is, especially in our home state of Texas. The large border, the international airport hubs make it a focus area for traffickers. The second largest number of calls to the Polaris national human trafficking hotline is from Texas,” says Walker.
“Here in Texas, the Interstate 10 corridor has been identified by the Department of Justice as the primary human trafficking route in the United States. This hits close to home and it’s alarming.”
HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS A GLOBAL ISSUE
While this crime is happening in Sabre’s home state, it also occurs across borders worldwide. Recognizing the unique role that technology plays in solving for this crime, Sabre also collaborates with Thorn, a non-profit organization founded and led by actor Ashton Kutcher.
Sabre also collaborates with Thorn, a non-profit organization founded and led by actor Ashton Kutcher.
Thorn’s tech task force and innovation lab is the largest tech taskforce focused on collaboration and information sharing to use technology to combat child sexual exploitation. Through partnerships with several of the largest tech companies in Silicon Valley, Thorn develops and deploys technology to track traffickers through data patterns and partners with law enforcement to bring justice to victims.
Human trafficking is a global issue and demands a worldwide solution to combat the epidemic. In order to achieve progress education and advocacy must combine with cross-industry collaboration. The travel and tourism industry is uniquely positioned to address the problem. As the technology provider at the center of the travel industry, Sabre is committed to help detect these victims and get them out of the hands of criminals.
Human Trafficking Visualized
Explore sobering stats on human trafficking below, and click to learn more about Passport to Freedom.
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