Microsoft Azure offers the creative technological flexibility necessary to address the challenges of human trafficking and migration management
BANGKOK, 23 June 2015 — Microsoft and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today announced the launch of 6Degree.org, the first crowdfunding portal that enables the public to directly support the voluntary return and sustainable reintegration of individual human trafficking victims.
Backed by the Microsoft Azure cloud-computing platform, 6Degree was developed by IOM’s human trafficking awareness campaign, IOM X, which is carried out with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and working in collaboration with independent software vendor AvePoint.
“The growing operational challenges of migration management demand out-of-the-box thinking on how best they can be tackled,” said Stefan Sjöström, Vice President for Public Sector, Microsoft Asia. “The use of technology shows enormous potential in this respect, and combining Microsoft’s deep expertise in deploying cloud computing technology to support public sector endeavors inspires confidence in our efforts to aid human trafficking victims.”
As the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration, with 157 member states and 480 field locations around the world, IOM has provided more than 70,000 survivors of human trafficking with humanitarian, medical, legal and migration support since 1997. On average, IOM helps 6,000-7,000 trafficking survivors every year.
IOM has the human resources, processes and facilities to help these victims. With additional funding, the cost of shelter, medical and legal assistance, repatriation, and education or skills development to prevent re-trafficking can be covered to meet demand.
“6Degree is the first time we have been able to provide individual donors with direct access to supporting a proven and time-tested mechanism for helping individual survivors of trafficking,” said Andrew Bruce, Regional Director, IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. “I am excited by the possibilities this technology opens up for organizations such as IOM, and the opportunity to give more victims of human trafficking a second chance at life.”
6Degree is the first crowdfunding portal that meets the strict requirements of IOM’s victim protection and privacy standards. Because a survivor’s anonymity is their most important form of protection, 6Degree does not use photographs of faces and modifies information that could compromise their safety or chances of a normal life. Each survivor’s story is told through interactive story maps, which strike a balance between protecting the victim’s identity, and telling a compelling story to potential funders.
The interactive map, built on top of Microsoft’s Bing Maps, allows users to follow the journey of each former victim, with significant milestones illustrated by clickable icons. When clicked, the user is presented with a narrative elaborating on the survivor’s experience at that point in their journey. By following the stories icon by icon, the user can understand the circumstances that led to the person being trafficked, appreciate the challenges faced during exploitation, learn how they reclaimed their freedom and discover what their dreams and ambitions are for the future.
“6Degree is about connecting individual users with individual human stories,” said Tara Dermott, IOM X Program Leader. “Parallel to the funding aspect, these stories will help develop awareness, build understanding and nurture commitment towards stopping human trafficking through the many actions of a united collective.”
Determining the specific amount of funding required for each victim’s voluntary return is the responsibility of IOM Case Officers who work on the ground. With the consent and active participation of each survivor, the IOM Case Officer conducts an individual needs assessment to see how they can best ensure the safety of individual beneficiaries while helping them progress towards social and economic self-sufficiency.
6Degree is the result of a strong public-private partnership between Microsoft and IOM. The development of the portal was led by IOM X, which is IOM’s new campaign to encourage safe migration and public action to stop exploitation and human trafficking, produced in partnership with USAID.
According to UN estimates, 20.9 million men, women and children are victims of human trafficking and exploitation worldwide.
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International Organization for Migration (IOM)
IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. As the leading international organization for migration, IOM acts with its partners in the international community to:
• Assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration management.
• Advance understanding of migration issues.
• Encourage social and economic development through migration.
• Uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants.
Please visit www.iom.int for more information.
IOM X is the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) innovative campaign to encourage safe migration and public action to stop human trafficking and exploitation. The campaign leverages the power and popularity of media and technology to inspire young people and their communities to act against human trafficking – the buying and selling of people for the purpose of exploitation – which is happening in every country in the world today. IOM X is produced in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). For more information, please visit IOMX.org
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the principal U.S. Government agency extending assistance to countries worldwide recovering from disaster, trying to emerge from poverty and engaging in democratic reforms. USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia, based in Bangkok, oversees a broad portfolio of regional and transnational programs, and also provides support to several USAID bilateral missions in Asia as well as manages programs in countries in which it does not have a permanent presence. Its regional approach addresses problems that cross national boundaries, such as human and wildlife trafficking, HIV/AIDS, natural resources conservation, trade and political and economic conflict. Please visit www.usaid.gov for more information.
AvePoint is the established leader in enabling enterprise collaboration across platforms and devices. Focusing on helping enterprises in their digitization journey to enable their information workers to collaborate with confidence, AvePoint is first to market with a unique solution that centralizes access and control of information assets residing in disparate collaboration and document management systems on-premises and in the cloud. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Jersey City, NJ, AvePoint serves over 14,000 organizations and 3 million Office 365 users worldwide. AvePoint is privately held and backed by Goldman Sachs.