February 4, 2019

When ideas can save lives: Event seeks public awareness to combat human trafficking crisis

Students can save lives, win $4,000 in upcoming human trafficking challenge

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — It’s no secret that human trafficking is a global problem that claims thousands of victims, but many people don’t know how prevalent this crisis is in their own backyard. Despite efforts to combat it, cases of human trafficking are actually on the rise in Indiana, with 31 percent of the trafficked victims being minors.

In response to this alarming reality, the Purdue Polytechnic Institute has teamed up with Discovery Park, Data Mine and the Purdue Peace Project to co-sponsor the Design Innovation Challenge: Fight Human Trafficking in the Americas, a Giant Leaps challenge aimed at mitigating human trafficking on Feb. 14 in Purdue Memorial Union.

The first part of this event, which is free and open to the public, will give participants the opportunity to learn about the current state of human trafficking in the Americas by hearing from law enforcement officials, advocacy programs and survivors.

In the afternoon, Purdue students will participate in a design innovation challenge to “hack” the problem of human trafficking. Students will break into teams, where they will work through the night to brainstorm potential solutions while receiving mentorship by faculty experts and community leaders. By Friday morning, students will submit their ideas to a panel of judges, and the top two teams deemed to have the most promising solution will be awarded $4,000 and $1,500.

This competition is open to all Purdue University students. Students can register online for the event as a team (three to eight students per team; only one graduate student allowed per team) or as an individual. Those who register as individual will be assigned to a team. More information about this event, including speaker information and program schedule, is available online.

This conference and competition are among the events celebrating Purdue’s sesquicentennial celebration, 150 Years of Giant Leaps, which acknowledges the university’s global advancements made in a variety of fields. This event aligns with two of the celebration’s Giant Leaps themes: Health, Longevity and Quality of Life and AI, Algorithms and Automation: Balancing Humanity and Technology. 

Writer: Jaclyn Lawmaster, jlawmast@purdue.edu

Media Contact: Brian Huchel, 765-494-2084, bhuchel@purdue.edu

Sources: Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar, 765-494-2439, kspellar@purdue.edu

Chad Laux, 765-494-0742, claux@purdue.edu

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