How Many Years a Slave?


Each year, human traffickers reap an estimated $32 billion in profits from the enslavement of 21 million people worldwide. And yet, for most of us, modern slavery remains invisible. Its victims, many of them living in the shadows of our own communities, pass by unnoticed. Polaris Project, which has been working to end modern slavery for over a decade, recently released a report on trafficking trends in the U.S. that draws on five years of its data. The conclusion? Modern slavery is rampant in our communities.

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and President Obama has called upon “businesses, national and community organizations, faith-based groups, families, and all Americans to recognize the vital role we can play in ending all forms of slavery.” The Polaris Project report, Human Trafficking Trends in the United States, reveals insights into how anti-trafficking organizations can fight back against this global tragedy.

For the past year our Philanthropy Engineering team has partnered with Polaris Project to provide them with our software and engineering expertise. In addition to serving victims and advocating for anti-trafficking public policy, Polaris Project operates the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (NHTRC). Victims and witnesses of human trafficking can call the hotline to report tips, request help, and connect with anti-trafficking services. Palantir has been instrumental in helping victims and callers quickly access the resources and help they need.

Polaris Project CEO Bradley Myles recently sat down with us to discuss how our software enables Polaris to do more than respond to individual calls to the hotline by discovering connections between cases and identifying global trafficking patterns and networks.

Footage of Polaris Project courtesy of William Caballero.

Polaris Project uses Palantir Gotham to leverage the data from nearly 100,000 calls. NHTRC may collect up to 170 different quantitative and qualitative variables per case record. These data originate from disparate sources—calls, emails, SMS, online tip reports, and publicly available information about trafficking. By integrating this data into a single platform, along with their national referral database of 3000 contacts that includes anti-trafficking organizations, legal service providers, shelters, coalitions, task forces, law enforcement, and social service agencies, Polaris can locate emergency response resources and identify critical services for victims of trafficking in a matter of seconds.

In September 2013, we were honored to host Bradley Myles at Palantir Night Live, where he described the full scale and scope of human trafficking worldwide and shared his thoughts on how technology can help eradicate this crime once and for all.

We are proud to work with Polaris Project to help bring this issue back into the light, raise awareness, and combat the problem wherever it appears.