Winners of Innovation Challenge to Address Human Trafficking Announced

The Partnership for Freedom, a public-private initiative aimed at ending human trafficking and modern-day slavery, has announced the winners of its first innovation challenge, Reimagine: Opportunity.

With funding provided by Humanity United, Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Women initiative, and the Righteous Persons Foundation, the two winning projects will receive a total of $1.77 million to pilot their solutions. MGH Freedom Clinic, a project of Massachusetts General Hospital's Human Trafficking Initiative, was awarded $600,000 to establish a model of comprehensive primary and preventative health care services for victims of trafficking, while the Safe Shelter Collaborative — whose partners include the Polaris Project, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, and Caravan Studios, a division of TechSoup Global — will receive $1.17 million to expand access to supportive shelters for trafficking survivors. To that end, the project will use technology to locate and provide immediate shelter services for survivors while working to broaden the base of organizations that can provide shelter and support. The public-private partnership also includes the U.S. Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development.

"We need our healthcare system to contribute positively to the well-being and healing of trafficking survivors by providing comprehensive trauma-sensitive, culturally appropriate, and survivor-informed care,” said Wendy Macias Konstantopoulos and Roy Ahn, leaders of the MGH Freedom Clinic. "Our project will develop a better understanding of the specific health outcomes and health needs of trafficking survivors, and develop best-evidence screening and patient care practices that can be widely disseminated throughout the country."

"The lack of available shelter for human trafficking survivors is appalling," said Marnie Webb, CEO of Caravan Studios. “We are glad to be working with Polaris Project to develop a comprehensive system to change that."