Taking pictures of your next hotel room could be a small step in helping victims of sex trafficking around the world. A new app and website called TraffickCam allows travelers to upload pictures of hotel rooms around the world to a database where the photos are matched against a police database.
“You just enter your hotel room, and your room number. You take four pictures, and you submit them to the website,” Washington University Researcher and TraffickCam developer Abby Stylianou said at a Human Trafficking Town Hall. “And then those become part of the pipeline that law enforcement can use to track down where the victims are being trafficked.”
“Right now there are pictures posted every day. Hundreds of pictures, in every city around the United States, posted online, that show victims of trafficking, in hotel rooms posed on beds,” she said.
The idea came about from police asking for help to identify a hotel room where a person was trafficked—someone was able to identify the room from the photo.
So, the next time you check in to a hotel room, take some photos of the hotel room and upload them after you update your Snap story.
The app is free and available for iOS and Android devices. Discuss
The UN’s refugee agency has released new numbers showing that at the end of 2015, 65.3 million people were refugees, internally displaced or seeking asylum. It’s the largest number ever recorded. And, it grew by 5 million in 2015—the largest single-year increase since WWII.
To put 65 million into perspective, that’s about the same as the population of Texas, New York state and Florida—combined. It means that right now, 1 in 113 people around the world are displaced. The UNHCR says that in 2015, 24 people were forced to flee their homes every minute.
Heartbreakingly, half of the world’s refugees are children.
Today on World Refugee Day, people around the globe are remembering the plight of refugees, who have been displaced by violence, extreme poverty and instability. Organizations like World Vision, the UN’s Refugee Agency, Save the Children, UNICEF and many others provide ways for you to donate to and advocate for the millions that have been forced to flee their homes.
Americans set an all-time record last year. According to a new report from Giving USA, the American public—which includes private citizens, as well as private groups, foundations and corporations—donated $373.25 billion in 2015. Individual donations far-and-away were the biggest category, accounting for more than $264 billion. Giving USA says it was the country’s “most-generous year ever."
Out of all of the causes that received donations last year, religious-related causes and organizations led the way, receiving more than $119 billion.
As a whole, donations to charity were up more than 4 percent over 2014. In a statement, Giving USA Foundation Chair W. Keith Curtis said,
These findings embody more than numbers—they also are a symbol of the American spirit. It’s heartening that people really do want to make a difference, and they’re supporting the causes that matter to them. Americans are embracing philanthropy at a higher level than ever before.