SumAll.org Attends Nexus NYC Salon on Human Slavery

Crunching numbers isn’t the only we do at the SumAll Foundation. Running an organization dedicated to social innovation via technology means that our staff members spend their time writing, reading, designing, budgeting, researching, and--occasionally--attending events. This last one is especially important to us; so many good ideas take shape when we decide to walk out of the door.

About two weeks ago, several members of our team had the opportunity to attend the Nexus NYC Salon on Understanding Modern Day Slavery. This interactive dinner provided an opportunity for thought leaders in the anti-human trafficking field to facilitate an interactive workshop about the different types of human slavery and share our collective knowledge and experience among peers from a variety of sectors, including: non-profit, social enterprise, technology, and philanthropy.

The New York City Chapter of Nexus hosted the event. Nexus is a global movement of young people who aim to improve philanthropy and impact investing by bringing together communities of wealth and social entrepreneurs. The organization was founded in 2011, and enables philanthropists to engage with socially conscious entrepreneurs who are working to solve some of the world’s toughest problems.  Nexus held summits in 2013 in Europe, Australia, Brazil, China, Thailand and at the UN in NYC.

The SumAll Foundation team was excited to attend this event not only to learn more about Nexus, but also because we are working on several projects in field of human trafficking and modern day slavery. In 2013, we developed an infographic illustrating the trend of human slavery, and have since created an interactive dashboard illustrating NYC Prostitution Arrest Analytics . Through this work we’ve learned just how nuanced discussions of slavery can be, and at the Nexus NYC Salon we were able to hear from on-the-ground advocates and thought leaders about the many experiences they’ve had while working to expose and eradicate modern day slavery.

Ava Lala and David Dahlin from Geneva Global kicked off the evening with an interactive session designed to increase awareness of human slavery and the many ways it can impact lives around the world. Perhaps most powerfully, they discussed how slavery plays a part in our day-to-day lives, from the make-up we wear to the technology we use. The realization that the majority of our possessions have been touched by slavery makes overcoming commercial obstacles daunting, and establishes the need for consumer awareness on how the products they consume are impacted by slavery.

During dinner, participants engaged in focused discussions on different forms of human slavery, including sex trafficking, domestic slavery, child slaves and soldiers, coercive migrant labor and bonded slavery. Facilitators with experience in each area provided focus, however participants were enthusiastic in sharing their thoughts on the difficult subject areas and discussions went on through the night.

The evening was a productive opportunity for those interested in learning more about human slavery and to hear from those engaged in intervention and education of the global problem. Sessions such as these help add perspective to the work that we do, and can inspire us to think even more about the role that analytics can play to end human trafficking and modern day slavery.

Written by Katie Lee

February 5, 2014 - Pictured (L-R): Mary Sitzenstatter, Katie Lee, Korey Lee and Pinky Chan at Nexus NYC Salon

February 5, 2014 - Pictured (L-R): Mary Sitzenstatter, Katie Lee, Korey Lee and Pinky Chan at Nexus NYC Salon

From Prostitution Arrests Data Exploration to Soap Distribution Outreach

A soap bar with a label noting the National Human Trafficking Hotline

A soap bar with a label noting the National Human Trafficking Hotline

Are you being forced to do anything you do not want to do? Have you been threatened if you try to leave? Have you witnessed young girls being prostituted? If so, please call: 1-888-3737-888 National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Being an intern at SumAll.org and joining in their exploration of Division of Criminal Justice Services data with Sanctuary for Families and the NYS Anti-Trafficking Coalition has made me want to learn more about human trafficking and prostitution--but something I want to see, what I don’t necessarily see at work, is the the human side of the issue. In every instance where we analyze the data or scrutinize a visualization, I think about each person represented as that number. What is that person’s life story? How did he or she become a involved as a person solicited or a perpetrator in this lucrative crime?

On January 30th, I decided to join a group of enthusiastic volunteers organized by S.O.A.P. (Save Our Adolescence from Prostitution) and the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, to fight against sex-trafficking--this includes under-age prostitution to NJ/NYC hotels right before the SuperBowl.  Naturally, this was the unique opportunity for me take on.

S.O.A.P. was founded by Theresa Flores, a sex-trafficking survivor. She noticed that the three things every hotel and motel has: a Bible, toilet paper and a bar of soap.  She also found that there was one thing every person involved in prostitution had in common, he or she would always wash up with soap after being with a client.  Therefore, Flores had the innovative idea to place the National Trafficking Hotline on a label of the bar of soap (pictured on left).  From there, the outreach events began and volunteers prepared and distributed bars of soap in areas of the United States.  Personally, it was so powerful to imagine that a victim’s way out of trafficking can be placed on an item that’s so ordinary.

January 30, 2014: Training for group of volunteers involved in the S.O.A.P project

January 30, 2014: Training for group of volunteers involved in the S.O.A.P project

For this particular outreach event, we were asked to distribute 10,000 soap bars that were prepared by another group of volunteers on the prior Wednesday. Our group of volunteers was assigned to canvass 50 hotels in the Manhattan area in one night.  Before heading out into the cold, we were briefed for on what human trafficking is and how people become involved in such situations.  We were also trained on how to communicate effectively with hotel staff.

Materials to distribute along with soap bars

Materials to distribute along with soap bars

My partner and I  were assigned to four hotels in the Chinatown area. The task was simple: distribute (1) a large poster noting the National Human Trafficking Hotline and trafficking warning signs (2) a packet of missing victims’ photos, and, (3) the 300+ bars of soaps for each hotel. In actuality it sounds simple, but terrifyingly nerve wrecking. I had to push past all those fears of potentially being rejected by hotel staff and focus on the real objective.  

For our first assigned hotel, we were in the area near the Manhattan bridge of Chinatown.  The hotel staff were a bit confused about what we were trying to do, but as soon as they heard the words “free soaps”,  they gladly received our items.  Of course, we also had to first inform them about the issue of missing and exploited children. They were so enthusiastic that they were asking us to post the poster immediately. Sadly, we did not even have scotch tape with us!

Front entrance of a hotel

Front entrance of a hotel

Most of the other hotels’ staff had the same reaction. I feel that as long as we were smiling and courteous, they would most likely accept.  The volunteer coordinators informed us that the third hotel on our list might not be as receptive to the materials we were handing out; however we actually ran out of soap bars to distribute because every hotel accepted them from us!  We don’t know what exactly the staff members will do with the soaps and posters. It is out of our hands, but it is my sincere hope that the hotline reaches the people who need it the most.

I’m honestly not quite sure how much research the volunteer coordinators have done for these specific hotels, but I definitely felt some strange aura around these areas.  I have  walked past these hotels multiple times and had no idea that there can be a possibility that people’s lives were in danger. Oftentimes, even if I were to see something suspicious, I would scurry past and ignore it, hoping not to get involved.

Even though I participated in such a minuscule task, I am hoping that it can have huge impact and save someone’s life.  After the event, I searched up the hotels that we visited and read the reviews.  All I can say is that I am shocked and it makes me heartbroken that other guests have witnessed suspicious activity and did not report it to the authorities--instead leaving review on Yelp.  However, I know I am guilty of that as well.  We all, including myself, need to know the warning signs of not only sex-trafficking, but also labor-trafficking and any other types of exploitation.  Most importantly, we all need to be more aware of what exactly is happening under our noses.  he next time we are analyzing prostitution and potential sex-trafficking data here at SumAll.org, I am hoping to see the numbers of those involved would lower drastically, not only because of this one outreach event, but also because there is an increased amount of awareness of this social injustice.

Written by Chi Nga Pinky Chan

SumAll.org to Provide NYC Prostitution Arrest Analytics, Brief Policy Makers on Long-Term Trends

As the Super Bowl quickly approaches, officials in the NYC/NJ Metro Area are preparing for an often-cited underbelly of major sports events: increased prostitution and human trafficking. Government agencies and advocates have ramped up prevention efforts with personnel training and media campaigns, one of which includes a large scale outdoor advertising campaign by the Polaris Project and Clear Channel Outdoor. It appears that this working is paying off: just this week a crackdown by the New York City Police Department has so far resulted in over 200 trafficking-related arrests. 

Click image to explore Data | NYC Prostitution Arrest Statistics, Source: DCJS 

Click image to explore Data | NYC Prostitution Arrest Statistics, Source: DCJS 

DATA ANALYTICS, PROSTITUTION AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

The SumAll Foundation is partnering with Sanctuary for Families, an NYC-based agency that provides services to survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, to analyze New York City's prostitution and human trafficking arrest records. Between 2005 and 2013, almost 12,000 patrons of prostitutes were arrested in NYC alone, with almost 1,250 of these arrests made in 2013. The police are much more likely to arrest people for the crime of prostitution rather than the johns pimps and traffickers who are fueling the growing of this massive underground industry.

Our researchers have made available an Interactive NY Prostitution Arrest Dashboard highlighting the number of arrests for patronizing people working as prostitutes in NYC's five boroughs. The information in this dashboard is just the tip of the iceberg--soon, we will make available an interface with richer data and analytics, which we plan to share with the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition. We encourage journalists and policy-makers to contact us for information and/or assistance. 

TRAFFICKING: NOT JUST ABOUT SEX

Another often forgotten aspect of human trafficking, which is also associated with large sporting events, as seen with a widely-circulated Guardian exposé of preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, is trafficked labor. While the sex industry receives a lot of attention, it is but one of a number of industries that attract traffickers abusing underage or at-risk laborers. 

Source

Links

SumAll Project Team 

SumAll.org and Humantarian Tracker to Offer Analytics on Syria Crisis Data Sets for Journalists

Since March of 2011, events in Syria have unfolded more violently than in other countries experiencing what has come to be known as the Arab Spring. What started out as demonstrations mirroring those that had begun in Tunisia in late 2010 and spread into Egypt in early 2011 soon turned into a violent armed conflict that has left over 100,000 dead, almost 5 million displaced, and almost 3 million others fleeing the country.

With the large amount of information coming out of Syria every day--whether from citizens, journalists, or official sources--it can be difficult to keep track of casualties and events. In an effort to provide reliable real-time data on the Syrian conflict, the SumAll Foundation has partnered with Humanitarian Tracker to offer access to data sets and analytics that provide insight into the fluctuating situation in Syria.

“We are thrilled about this partnership and the potential it can have on Syria’s future” explains Dr. Taha Kass-Hout, Founder and CEO of Humanitarian Tracker. "The goal of Humanitarian Tracker is to give a voice to those silenced by the conflict. Our partnership with SumAll will help amplify those voices, by making the influx of data coming out of Syria easy to understand."

Humanitarian Tracker, whose mission is to connect and empower citizens using innovation in technology to support humanitarian causes, provides the most complete and up to date crowdsourced dataset concerning events in Syria on the web.

"It is common for businesses to have real-time management dashboards for better decision-making. Surprisingly, the most pressing issues of our time don't have a dashboard." says Stefan Heeke, Executive Director of SumAll.org. 

The challenge is using that data to reach valuable insights and accurately communicate information. In order to do that, we aim to provide this publicly available Interactive Syria Crisis Dashboard for those interested in mining the very latest data first hand. 

Our Partnership Offer

For journalists who have specific questions that can be answered by further in-depth exploration, SumAll is offering a channel to investigate your research ideas and work with you to mine the most recent Humanitarian Tracker datasets. Our goal is to provide ad-hoc insights for data-driven journalists and political decision-makers. Please contact us for assistance.

Contact 

SumAll.org Research Team 

Database

  • Syriatracker: Documented Killings, News, Social Media Mentions

 

    SumAll.org on Clinton Health Matters 2014 Conference

    The Clinton Foundation Health Matters 2014 Conference is the annual gathering of public health experts, thought leaders and CHMI partners. SumAll.org is a pledge maker and helps the Clinton foundation with data analytics, data visualization and open data concepts around the issue of prescription drug abuse. Hosted by Bill and Chelsea Clinton, it is a premier platform to showcase public health ideas, innovation and major accomplishments. A host of well-curated panels were moderated in the area of Health Transformation, Mental Health and Prescription Drug Abuse, Technology Platforms, Healthy Lifestyles and Health Justice.

    Dane Atkinson: "We have an obligation to share data and use the full power of data analytics for public health"

    Dane Atkinson: "We have an obligation to share data and use the full power of data analytics for public health"

    SumAll.org was represented on stage by Dane Atkinson, SumAll’s CEO as part of a panel about Technology, Data and Public Health, moderated by Chelsea Clinton with panelists form Jawbone, Verzion, Moro and the Knight Foundation. The key points were that individualized quantified self data can add tremendous value for more granular insights into larger health patterns, risk and lifestyles. For instance, Jawbone found out that the Boston Bombings had a significant effect on sleep in the Boston area: people went to bed later and stayed up awake in bed longer as the news story progressed. Dane Atkinson stressed the need for data sharing and our collective obligation to use the full power of data analytics to locate at-risk individuals and better serve them for prevention and treatment. Cathy Wang from Moro reminded us that apps can keep us healthy, for instance by monitoring our daily water intake habits. 

    Stefan Heeke: "Leverage new data sources for more localized, real-time public health information"

    Stefan Heeke: "Leverage new data sources for more localized, real-time public health information"

    The conference’s highlights were key announcements, in particular Patrick Soon-Shiong announcing the ability to detect cancer in blood tests for the first time in human history, a service he wants to make accessible to all segments of the population. The Jed Foundation announced a major program to start a widespread outreach to engage campuses in monitoring prescription drug abuse and by addressing it with individual campus level programs and policy recommendations. The initiative is supported by MTV and Facebook for media outreach and social media peer support. Last, but not least, the Knight Foundation celebrated its winners of the Knight Foundation Tech Challenge where the finalists could present their groundbreaking ideas. 

    Our Commitment "Leverage expert data analytics to help the issue of prescription drug misuse and other key public health crisis"

    Our Commitment "Leverage expert data analytics to help the issue of prescription drug misuse and other key public health crisis"

    In summary, the conference delivered on many levels, providing a platform for prevention, healthy living and discussions on how to address key public health issues within and outside the system. It offered real and feasible solutions, along with a stage for upcoming talent, technologies and innovations. 

    SumAll.org is incredibly honored to be a Clinton Foundation pledge maker and we can’t wait to get back to work and bring more data analytics to the issue of prescription drug abuse and other key public health topics. 

    Meet David Mosenkis, Exploratory Data Analysis Volunteer

    We would like to highlight and send a special thanks to David Mosenkis, who has been business data analytics professional for the past 10 years. His background is in scientific software development, he helped SumAll.org on the most recent human trafficking project, looking into trafficking patterns of prostitution arrests. David is a master in exploring new datasets by visualizing and explaining the essence of a complex issue in simple terms. He is remotely volunteering with us from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania., we are truly humbled by his talent and professionalism. 

    Data Workshop for Non-Profits and Social Enterprises

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    This week we had the opportunity to conduct a data workshop with the Centre of Social Innovation (CSI) in their beautiful Chelsea office space, with a quality group of social entrepreneurs and non-profit professionals from the New York area. 

    In addition to introducing the principles of data analytics, we were eager to learn first-hand about specific data-related problems non-profit organizations are facing.  With that in mind, we shared some insights into our work and how we approach data-driven problem solving.

    In a nutshell, these were typical data related goals on non-profits:
    * Use Data to become more transparent to stakeholders
    * Use Real Time Data for better, faster decision-making
    * Use data to evaluate & track performance
    * Find better ways of capturing program data
    * Create a better reporting framework
    * Find new ways to visualize data
    * Find ways to extract the most important indicators to track

    Typical obstacles non-profit organizations are encountering:
    * Lack of Resources
    * Need for accessible  tools
    * Data capture / collection is hard
    * Find the right tracking framework that is not too complex, nor too simplistic
    * Data is scattered in different places
    * Unclear what to look for in datasets
    * Unclear how data can be leveraged for decision-making

    Data analytics for social innovation is a nascent topic and we feel its potential is limitless. Success will depend on making non-profit organizations comfortable with tracking their impact and building data analytics capacity within their organization. Driving social innovation and helping non-profit organizations with data is our mission at SumAll.org.

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    70,000 Poems in one TagCloud

    Did you know that writing poetry is one of the most effective ways of improving language skills? We analyzed 70,000 poems and our data indicates that writing poetry is one of the most effective methods of language acquisition. More and more young people are engaging in poetry and use mobile technology and social networks to write, publish and share their work. With our partner powerpoetry.org we are finalizing a summary about the “State of Poetry” in the US. As a little pre-view, see below this beautiful tag-cloud of all the poems we analyzed.  

    PoemTagCloud.jpg

    September Newsletter

    Response has been great over the past months and it's been quite a ride for our new data analytics non-profit. We were getting our feet wet with a few data projects and were able to calibrate the SumAll.org approach of leveraging data for good. Applying our data-driven solutions has led to many learnings some of which we'd like to highlight here (...)

    Read More

    Quantifying Impact for Good

    by Stefan Heeke

    Silicon Alley is experiencing a regenesis. Homegrown startups are flourishing, and many New York City technology companies have recently experienced well-deserved financial and creative success.

    But when CEO Dane Atkinson co-founded SumAll.com he decided that building a tech startup should be about more than just money. A great startup is also about creating a positive workplace that generates tangible societal impact. So with the founding of SumAll, the team decided to set aside a full 10% of the company’s equity to create a foundation with the goal of translating the company’s mission to the world of nonprofits. The SumAll Foundation then raised an additional $500,000 and set out to make data analytics accessible to a broad range of non-commercial organizations.

    The promise of the SumAll’s analytics platform is that any company, in particular smaller businesses, should be able to leverage big, connected data to become more numbers-driven and effective. The SumAll Foundation extends SumAll.com’s mission beyond the enterprise to create data-driven impact on important issues. The SumAll Foundation uses proven tactics and techniques of data analysis, design, and journalism to better understand big issues, and to help organizations understand the challenges of big data.

     The SumAll.org team embarked on a journey to quantify a range of yet unquantified or under-analyzed issues. Our general focus has been on human rights issues. Our initial projects have brought us into the world of human trafficking, child pornography, homelessness, democracy, and prescription drug abuse. We work closely with organizations that have topical expertise to determine an issue’s key performance indicators. We then dive deeply into datasets to create statistical models, interactive visualizations and tell the story behind the numbers.

    One great example of our approach is our work on the issue of prescription drug abuse. We’ve formed a partnership with the Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI), a part of The Clinton Foundation, to analyze the spread of prescription drug abuse. In an attempt to deeply understand the nature of prescription drug abuse, our two organizations regularly collaborate and share information.  

    In keeping with our theme of human rights, The SumAll Foundation also dove deep into the data of the darkest corner of the Internet: child pornography. Our report used search and other big data buckets to better understand the users and impact of the Internet on the spread of child pornography.

    The next few months will present a number of exciting and interesting projects and partners for The SumAll Foundation. We’re currently analyzing and creating visualizations. For example, Twitter hashtag data around the demonstrations in Turkey. With this project, our goal is to remove language barriers and layers of propaganda, and provide a simple and intuitive map of the protest conversation.

    The SumAll Foundation’s goal is to change the world. We are grateful for the vision and opportunity provided by SumAll.com to work on fascinating issues sans commercial restriction. Our awesome team is working hard to bring data analytics to more issues and hopefully make a big and measurable impact over time. I consider it a privilege to be part of this organization.