At an intimate and well attended event, hosted at the Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the UCI Blum Center and EverFree – our community partner organization working in the anti-human trafficking field – showcased the importance and power of survivor-focused data for lasting freedom. Meeting human trafficking survivor needs and helping them achieve their personalized goals requires survivor and programmatic data that doesn’t exist. At least it didn’t use to. The unique partnership between EverFree and the Blum Center has led to the development of a survivor-focused assessment tool. This tool, in the hands of service providers and case managers working with survivors, can help survivors identify  areas or elements of their life they consider strengths and areas where they experience more challenges. Empowered with this data, survivors can map out with their caseworker priorities they want to work on to ensure they feel secure in their life and reduce vulnerability to being re-trafficked. Reassessment at a later time provides valuable information to both service organizations and individual survivors on what programs are working. In that way, this assessment could become a potentially critical evidence-based tool for shaping future programs and policy. The event, attended by local organizations who have piloted this tool as well as the Samueli Foundation who have generously supported the development and piloting of this innovative tool, illustrated also the potential for harnessing technological advancements for good- with care and caution to ensure dignity, privacy, and security.

It was so inspiring seeing successful research being implemented for real, important change. I also felt very lucky to be able to attend this symposium as an undergraduate and to start experiencing what presenting research in the field of social science is like!  (Lizzie Braver, a member of the inaugural cohort of the Blum Center’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship)

Learn more about the Blum Center’s research on human trafficking here.

*Note: The assessment tool was recently relaunched as the Freedom Lifemap. The event photo displays a presentation slide with the former tool name, Freedom Greenlight.