APPRISE is a joint project by the Mekong Club and the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society. In Thailand, its first pilot country, this effort has been supported by key partners such as the Department of Special Investigation of Thailand, the UN and several NGOs.

Out of the over 40 million people reduced in slavery every year (Source: Alliance 8.7, 9/2017), a huge portion is represented by migrant workers - trafficked and exploited in a second country. NGOs and authorities (jointly referred to as ‘front-line responders’ – FLR) often have difficulties identifying these victims during investigations and rescue operations. During background research, several factors were observed including: problems communicating with migrant workers due to the large number of languages spoken; different understandings of indicators of human trafficking across key stakeholders; lack/mistrust of interpreters; and migrant workers’ fear of reprisals for speaking out. Moreover, mobile phones were then almost unanimously identified as providing a viable platform that could be used to support communication, and to provide a simple means to identify human trafficking victims. While victims themselves often did not have access to mobile phones, participants noted that frontline responders almost universally have access to mobile phones. Therefore, this research proposes having an application on the frontline responders’ mobile phone as a potential facility to enable workers in vulnerable situations to self-identify and seek help; allowing them to bridge the language divide, and work with a common understanding of the indicators of human trafficking. Given the wide variety in types and forms of human trafficking and exploitation, this project covers diverse scenarios, including: forced labour (both on fishing vessels and in manufacturing premises), sex trafficking, and child begging.

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