April 13th, 2011
04:19 PM ET

Tools used by modern-day abolitionists

What are some of the tools used by modern-day abolitionists? CNN's Kristie Lu Stout talked to Not for Sale president and co-founder David Batstone about technology that is helping the fight against slavery.

Q: What tools do you use to raise awareness and to crack down on human trafficking?

BATSTONE: When I discovered the extent to which human trafficking exists in the world today, one thing that really struck me was how invisible it was to so many common citizens. So we began working with technology tools at Not for Sale. And one of the first tools we created was in partnership with Yahoo. It's a tool called slaverymap.org where we document cases of human trafficking in backyard communities all over the globe.

When you go to Slavery Map you're able to see who the trafficker is, who their victims might be, whether law enforcement got involved in getting them freed and what happened to the victim. So slaverymap.org is a way for people all over the world to find out what's happening in their community.

Q: In addition to Slavery Map, you've also created another modern-day tool for consumers to use. It's the Free to Work app for the iPhone and Android. It rates companies based on their support of slavery. What is the reaction to that app been like?

BATSTONE: It's been phenomenal. What we do is we look at the factors that go into making any product. We want to make sure that consumers feel that they're enhancing the lives of the people who touch that product, that made that product not limit or destroy their lives. So we come up with a grade that's familiar to most anyone who has gone to school, it's an A, B, C, D, F. And we'll send the report card to the company and say they have 30 days to get back to us with information we might have missed. We don't want them to look bad.

And what I'm finding when we first started, most companies ignored us, but now because of the rising use of the tool on iPhones and in Androids, we're finding that companies in two out of three cases are getting back to us with feedback and how they can improve their supply chain.

Check out more of the interview in the video above.

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soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Dee

    Hi, I am interested in understanding who can someone contact if they feel that this is taking place against someone(s) in the family right now. Also, it could be widespread based on how the situation came about. I need help and really feel that CNN is very reputable. Anything that you can do would be appreciated.

    April 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  2. KenX

    The "Slavery Map" is direct product of the wildly exaggerated estimates instead of the real numbers. In 2000, the advocates for the trafficking laws estimated 50,000 people were trafficked into the US annually. In Nov 2008, the Washington Post reported the State Depts own admissions that they were having trouble finding victims. They had found 1100 in 8 years. By the 400,000 they should have found, they were less than 1% accurate.

    Now, the say 200,000 people are trafficked into the US annually. So the solution to being grossly inaccurate is to quadruple the estimates and start sensationalizing that with the help of Hollywood flakes like Demi Moore. If you write you Congressional rep about this discrepancy, you will get a letter back quoting the obsolete estimates along with a complete lack of acknowledgement for the real numbers. Rational people don’t hang their hat on old estimates when the real numbers prove them wrong.

    I think what we have is a lot of 6 figure Washington Bureaucrats throwing around a lot of propaganda during a time of budget cuts to justify their plush jobs. Everyone else is just getting duped. The fact still remains. The numbers of arrests, convictions, and rescued victims just don’t jive with the wild stories being told.

    The media, like CNN, has invested too much in this hoax to have the real numbers undermine their investment. They have to keep the lie alive to get a return on their investment in all the documentaries.

    April 14, 2011 at 9:42 am | Reply
  3. someone

    Dear KenX,
    What number of victims does it have to be to have this atrocious crime be real or relevant to you?

    April 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  4. Element

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    April 15, 2011 at 9:24 am | Reply
  5. olajide

    i am from nigeria, which happens to be a hotspot for human traficking both internally and across borders
    i av been following the freedom project, and i am going to be very direct and advise that the best way to tackle any problem is to tackle the root cause.
    i believe the minute we focus on poverty and hunger in developing countries,half the problem is solved.
    Over 80% of those traficked are poor and hungry, and this is the major tool employed by trafickers.
    Enticements of a better life, and assurances of income is what drives most parents
    To give up their children, and yes a good number of trafickd persons consent to it, especially in nigeria,coercion and forced slavery is less than 5%.
    Let us put this fight into perspective,help task governments and private companies to do more in alleviating poverty, and this battle is half won.

    April 17, 2011 at 3:55 am | Reply
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