This week the No Place for Sex Trafficking website launches in the Netherlands. This is the result of the What Design Can Do (WDCD) No Minor Thing challenge in 2018, for which STBY, as the research partner, developed the briefs for an invitation-only design challenge. There is a lengthy and collaborative process behind the website for which many contributing partners are responsible. Amsterdam-based What The studio designed the No Place for Sex Trafficking website over the past two years. The website delivers a clear and strong service: providing training to hotel employees, taxi drivers and restaurant staff to spot sex trafficking and know how to respond. Many hotels have already signed up and will get a certificate once 60% of their staff has followed the online training.
The Dutch ministry of Justice and Security initiated No Minor Thing with WDCD in 2018, because the Public Prosecutor recognised a need for alternative and innovative approaches to combat sex trafficking of minors. Design was called to the rescue once again, but how could design make a difference? STBY as the global research partner of WDCD was asked to create briefs through a process of engaging a wide range of parties addressing the complex problem already; among them the police, victim support and many NGOs.
At STBY we love to take on complex societal issues, and figure out where design could make a difference. We often collect stories to create a solid foundation for our research. Conducting field research within this topic was challenging, but many of the stakeholders involved had already collected stories, and the public prosecutors we interviewed shared stories from their investigations. We ended up curating those stories and analysing where the opportunities for new interventions could be. One clear opportunity was that many people in hospitality are suspecting when something is not right but do not know how to respond, or are afraid to lose their job even because they do not know how their employer would react. What The studio had the brilliant idea to turn this situation around and give hotels, restaurants and taxi drivers the opportunity to fight sex trafficking by learning the signs and being alert in order to interfere.
Some of the stories that STBY curated are visible on the website to remind everyone of the traps young people can get lost in. Luckily there is a new way now to help them get out of it.
Image credits: What The studio