Twilio Teams Up With Nonprofits To Help Fight Human Trafficking

Polaris ProjectFor human trafficking victims, the key to rescue is communication. We’ve teamed up with the Polaris Project, Thorn, and to build a new avenue of rescue for victims.

Victims and concerned citizens can text the Twilio-powered shortcode “BeFree” (233733) to be immediately connected with the the Polaris Project’s National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC). The Polaris Project will work to gather critical information, and even help coordinate rescues.

The NHRTC received over 70,000 phone calls from citizens and victims the past six years. Many of these cases have been reported to law enforcement. But, victims are consistently monitored by their captors and need a way to reach out for help without the risk of being caught.

“Our research with child sex trafficking survivors has shown that many of them use text as their primary form of communication and that, when under the control of their trafficker, they were in need of more accessible, discrete forms of communication to seek help,” said Julie Cordua, Executive Director, Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children.

Going forward, the Polaris Project’s call center will organize information from victims and citizens using Salesforce and then share that information with the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. By harnessing the power of communication, we hope to save lives. “This is one of those times that affirms our conviction that software can change lives for the better,” says Jeff Lawson.

To contact the NHRTC and find out how you can help stop human trafficking, visit their website here.

  • geekam

    I love this. Long time ago, I tried to see if I could do a similar project but never got far. It was
    not for Human trafficking victims but was for the entire female
    population of South East Asia counties, esp. India where assaults on
    women and rapes are really common. I think a similar texting service can
    be setup for women in countries like India to call for help if possible
    or at least report it (maybe anonymously?). In a country where Police
    is basically useless, this will at least come in handy if there is
    enough data pouring in and maybe citizens can help each other by
    watching out for a particular place that is unsafe.

    I’d really like to work for such a project.

    • Twilio

      Sounds like a great project to help a community of people who may not have the right communication channels for help. Great to see movement on things like this – let us know if the project picks back up