In 2008 awareness of the issue of human trafficking was quickly accelerating into the public consciousness. Many programs were hastily initiated in foreign soil around the world in efforts to address the crime.
As this makeshift movement emerged, many stakeholders encountered the need for a system to coordinate resources and knowledge between the various components of care. In 2010 we set out to research and design this platform.
In 2010 my colleague (Sara Jacobsen) and I spoke with many counter trafficking and migrant/refugee organizations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In a short span of time we were able to see that many of the local programs were stretched so thin in human resources that they struggled to allot time to explore strategic partnerships — and some weren't familiar of the specifics of other programs just down the street. By walking and talking our way around the city we were able to make connections and introductions. In the United States the movement was even more of a mess. Thousands of programs had been created over a short period of time, which led to duplication of effort and a lack of knowledge exchange between sectors: practitioners, law enforcement, lawyers, health workers, academics, donors, private businesses, etc.
In 2011 we created a first pass at a tool to help the movement self-coordinate. We sought to validate the prototype (CTIPdb.com) through feedback from hundreds of stakeholders. While demoing the platform in Thailand and Cambodia, we met with a counter-trafficking coalition by the name of “Chab Dai.” They were at work on a similar platform and in the spirit of collaboration, the projects were merged together.
The following case study is written about my time working for Chab Dai to design and manage the release of our comprehensive counter trafficking platform, “Freedom Collaborative.”
In 2012 our team in Cambodia explored user flows, feature wireframes, and roll out strategies. We designed the UI and prototyped various components in html/css/js before building out features into our ruby on rails application. Before releasing new components we conducted private betas to identify bugs, solicit feedback and iterate as needed. In 2013 we partnered with the talented Fretless team to continue building the web application. Their team did a tremendous job reconciling our legacy codebase with the implementation of new features. In December 2013 we launched the unified platform: open resources; profiles for vetted organization; personal profiles for all stakeholders; and an API to share the data.
Before releasing the platform we took time to craft a compelling visual language with the branding and identity. The deep sunburst saffron was chosen to pay homage to the roots of the project starting in Southeast Asia and Cambodia in particular. A tree native to the region, called the gamboge tree, releases a sap of an arresting golden hue.