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U.S. Embassy in Mexico Organizes “TechCamp Mexico: Fight Trafficking in Persons”

US Embassy shares best practices on combating child exploitation

Mexico City, December 6, 2013 – The U.S. embassy in Mexico City, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), gathered 12 technical experts and over 50 civil society activists from all over Mexico to participate in a TechCamp to discuss techniques and technologies that can assist in combating trafficking in persons (TIP).  The event took place in the state of Tlaxcala on December 3-5.

U.S. Ambassador Anthony Wayne opened the event, along with Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission chairman Dr. Raul Plascencia, White House Advisor on Scientific and Technological Policy Vivian Graubard, Regional UNODC Advisor against TIP Felipe de la Torre, and Marcela Loaiza’s Foundation Chairperson Marcela Loaiza who is a TIP survivor.

In his remarks Ambassador Wayne quoted President Obama as saying: “…we’re going to harness technology to stop them … [by] encouraging tech companies and advocates and law enforcement … to develop tools that our young people can use to stay safe online and on their smart phones.”

During two busy days, the participants developed projects using low cost and user-friendly technologies that will help their organizations in the day-to-day struggle against TIP.  For instance, one group developed a project using an interactive soap opera to sensitize the public about trafficking in persons.  Another project uses “data scraping” to conduct surveys about victims and their families in order to map high-risk areas.

White House official Vivian Graubard noted: “The estimate of TIP victims exploited for sex or labor worldwide is about 20 million persons (about the size of the Mexico City’s metropolitan area – one of the largest in the world).  We have lots to do. We know that the United States cannot end this scourge by itself. A collective effort is required.”

The U.S. Embassy is committed to continue supporting the cooperation efforts among technologists and civil society activists to promote efforts against trafficking in persons. The Embassy will also invest resources in tools, conferences and other mechanisms to foster the work that began in Tlaxcala. 

The first TechCamp held in Mexico took place in March of this year focusing on the technological training of women’s organizations.

 For additional information about TechCamps go to http://techcampglobal.org/

 For additional information on trafficking in persons go to http://www.state.gov/j/tip/index.htm.