Liberty Shared

Our goal is to create a system where victims don’t fall through the cracks and NGOs can develop insights into who is at risk and where”

Duncan Jepson | Managing Director
 

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NGOs GLOBALLY ON VCMS SYSTEM

 

Liberty Shared uses cutting-edge tech to fight modern-day slavery

Liberty Shared is using Salesforce technology to build a powerful community of NGO collaborators in the fight against human trafficking.

Life is tough on Thailand’s notorious ghost fishing fleets. 

Fleeing persecution in Myanmar and Cambodia to seek refuge in Thailand, desperate migrants are trafficked through Thai ports where some are sold to boat captains for a few hundred dollars per head. 

These modern-day slaves are then held captive – often for years at a time – on Thai fishing boats, where they are forced to work long hours and endure shocking conditions.

The ill are thrown overboard. Minor indiscretions, such as unscheduled toilet breaks, are punished with brutal beatings. And all this in pursuit of ‘trash fish’ hauls that are then sold as feed to prawn producers so they can supply major western supermarket chains. 

That’s just one example of the many cases of human trafficking that remain a major global problem.  Sex trafficking, forced labour and child exploitation are issues prevalent all over the world today.

The Walk Free Foundation estimates that 40.3 million people globally are currently trapped in modern slavery. It’s a growing industry that the International Labour Organization believes generates around US$150 billion in profits per year.

A light-bulb moment

Those are numbers that didn’t sit well with Duncan Jepson, Managing Director of Liberty Shared. 

Previously a corporate lawyer in the finance industry, Jepson spent his days investigating potential client involvement in criminal activities such as human trafficking and money laundering. 

He was also actively involved in two charity organisations in Afghanistan and Nepal, and it was a chance meeting with the heads of these two charities at a Dubai conference that provided a light-bulb moment for Jepson.

“They happened to sit next to each other and found that they had me in common,” says Jepson. “NGOs often don’t communicate with each other, and this was an opportunity for them to share stories and realise they shared common problems.”  

Jepson embarked on a mission to find a way if he could find a way to facilitate better communication and collaboration between NGOs across Asia. The result was Liberty Asia, a start-up that aimed to prevent human trafficking by providing  front-line NGOs with case management technology and data insights to fight human trafficking.   Liberty Asia later evolved into LibertyShared.

Sharing is caring

Liberty Shared today connects 30 contributing NGOs, has collected 18,000 trafficker names for processing, and has empowered 10,000 financial institutions to screen for name matches of profiled traffickers.

That’s been made possible in part through Liberty Shared’s partnership with Salesforce.org Together, the two organisations have built a cloud-based victim case management system (VCMS) and data collection app to facilitate this Asia-wide fight.

The app enables front-line NGOs to store, share and analyse client data such as names and ages of victims. It also collects data about  where and when they were abducted and the movement of victims across borders. 

It is designed to facilitate the sharing of information, expertise, data, and best practices with anti-trafficking stakeholders. It also gathers and channels intelligence on slavery to the private sector, and provides data to help focus preventative and rescue efforts for victims. 

“Prior to Liberty Shared, many NGOs had poor record keeping and database management practices,” says Jepson. “Victim data was recorded on Excel spreadsheets or on paper. This made records vulnerable to raids and offered no real analytics functionality.”

The cloud-based app, which protects victim data with industry-leading Salesforce security measures, gives agents visibility into their territories. This helps them keep track of individuals as they cross multiple borders. 

Salesforce analytics also enables NGOs to better track patterns of human trafficking and identify high-risk territories.

Jepson believes that as the shared database continues to grow it will help all stakeholders to understand which populations are most at risk of human trafficking and why.

Liberty Shared is now working with other dataset providers to harmonise data across their respective platforms and create a visual map of all cases available in the system. A supporting geo-tagging feature will be available to visualise people movements and trafficking activity.

Following the money

Beyond front-line NGOs, Jepson says that the private sector is another key stakeholder in developing an anti-slavery global network.

Liberty Shared has partnered with intelligence firm Thomson Reuters to facilitate the flow of information on slavery. Front-line data is collected from local cases through the Salesforce-powered victim case management app and disseminated to the world’s largest financial institutions via the Thomson Reuters-owned WorldCheck database.

Financial institutions use WorldCheck to identify potential client involvement in money laundering, threat financing and organised crime as part of their compliance responsibilities and regulatory requirements. 

Jepson believes that giving private sector companies access to a sophisticated global anti-slavery information network is key to disrupting the flow of money generated by forced labour and human trafficking practices.

“It’s about finding better ways to gather and disseminate information so companies can make better decisions and really change their behaviour,” he says. “It will not only help companies ensure compliance with local labour laws, but also protect their supply chains from criminal activity and the negative publicity that follows.” 

A momentum for change

New features designed in partnership with Salesforce Asia (all delivered through staff’s pro bono allowance) has helped pinpoint hotspots of activity so law enforcement agencies and the private sector can act to identify and eliminate suppliers associated with human trafficking from their supply chains.

Liberty Shared also conducts research on significant incidences of trafficking in Asia. This is then presented to potential compliance and banking officials that are associated with investments in the region, to encourage them to enact change.

“We have seen success using the anonymised data within the VCMS - this adds to our progress by crucially increasing the data and evidence available,” says Jepson.

The impact the VCMS can have on Liberty Shared’s ability to fight human trafficking is significant, bolstering important programs both internally and in the wider community.

“Our overriding objective is to create a better system where victims don’t fall through the cracks, NGOs can develop insights into who is at risk and where, and companies in the private sector have more transparency into the practices of their suppliers.” says Jepson.

 
 

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