GLO.ACT supports hackathon against human trafficking

Brasilia, Brazil 30 October 2018 ‐ Between October 8 and 9 IBM Brazil brought together more than 230 participants around a single goal: to use information technology to help solve major social issues, as well as improve people's lives; all in a 30-hour schedule programming marathon. It was a race against the clock, with the participation of university students, young programmers, engineers, and designers. The competition was held under the framework the IBM Cloud Discovery Event in São Paulo. This initiative aims at promoting technology in favor of people.

GLO.ACT Brazil alongside the National Secretariat of Justice and the Brazilian Association for the Defense of Women, of Childhood, and Youth (ASBRAD) supported the IBM Bluehack #EndTrafficking challenge which counted on 83 participants divided into 17 teams. This is Brazil's first hackathon against human trafficking. The partnership intended to explore in practice how technology can help in the fight against human trafficking. The challenge was to develop an App to develop prototypes of solutions that can address human trafficking in Brazil. IBM Bluehack Brazil´s winning project was "TrafFuture" presented by the group "GalaxiWare". The platform simulates a seemingly common job interview however, at the end of the experiment, the app will reveal the dangers of job offers that seem "too good to be true". A similar hackathon was carried out in Bogota, Colombia, between 31 August and 1 September 2018, entitled "BlueHack Pasos Libres contra la Trata de Personas".

In addition to ample space for teams to circulate, exchange ideas and receive mentoring, the hackathon´s facilities also featured puffs, pinball machines, game tables, pizzas, lots of coffee, and a DJ who provided music during the much-needed breaks; necessary ingredients to stimulate creativity of programmers, designers and entrepreneurs, and allow them to develop their projects into the night. Complementing the experience, two stages took turns offering workshops and more information on the subjects tackled by the programming marathon. During one of these workshops, Ms. Graziella do Ó Rocha - belonging to ASBRAD and acting as one of the mentors of the event- in her presentation to the public, made clear the importance of the subject: "While we are here, there are people suffering and unable to escape from this situation. We need to work to solve this problem, don´t forget, we will be remembered for what we leave to society".

Mentors accompanied the teams and guided them regarding the challenges of combating Trafficking in Persons (TIP) thorough the duration of the entire hackathon. The mentors included representatives from UNODC, Secretariat of National Justice, the Ministry of Human Rights, the Special Secretariat for Women's Policies, the Brazilian Association for the Defense of Women of Childhood and Youth (ASBRAD), Association for Transsexuals, Travesties, and Transgendered of Goiás (ASTRAL), the Federal Public Defenders Office, and Youth with a Mission (JOCUMBRAZIL).


At the end of the 30+ hours of programming marathon, the groups pitched to a panel that judged their projects. Each of the 17 groups had 3 minutes to quickly and clearly present their project to a panel of representatives from UNODC, IBM, Ministry of Justice, and ASBRAD. The goal? Conquer the interest - and heart - of the judges. With all the presentations completed, the panel of jurors arrived at the final verdict. The winners were announced by Young Nerd (Jovem Nerd) Brazilian bloggers on the main stage of IBM Cloud Discovery, closing the event in style.

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine.  GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Fernanda Patricia Fuentes Munoz

National Project Officer

Liaison and Partnership Office in Brazil


Twitter:  @glo_act