Working to end the commercial sexual exploitation of youth in San Francisco. Together.
Who is Freedom FWD
The trafficking of people for labor and sexual exploitation is one of the most significant human rights issues of the 21st century. Sadly, according to the FBI, San Francisco has one of the highest rates in the country for the commercial sexual exploitation of children.  Today, more than 60 organizations in San Francisco provide services and programs that tackle dimensions of this problem and make a difference in the lives of these children. Freedom FWD, is bringing together these frontline service providers, along with survivors, technologists, and the government, to develop coordinated solutions that tackle the root causes of sexual exploitation.
Freedom FWD believes in the power of collaboration to build a resilient and effective ecosystem that is stronger than the sum of its parts. Its goals are to:
1. Strengthen frontline organizations
2. Increase collaboration
3. Fill critical landscape gaps
Together, Freedom FWD and its collaborating organizations intend to end the commercial sexual exploitation of youth in San Francisco.
Core to Freedom FWD’s ethos is a belief in human centered design —those who are most impacted by a policy or issue should be at the heart of developing solutions. As such, the first project they launched was their Forward Fellowship, which enables six youth who had been impacted by sex trafficking or the sex trade to have a seat at the table on the San Francisco Mayor’s Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking, a task force created by San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. This cohort of young leaders now serves as the task force’s first-ever Youth Advisory Board. Freedom FWD partnered with two other community organizations to develop a year-long, trauma-informed leadership program to support Fellows in their personal and professional growth. They aim to make the curriculum and approach open source for other task forces across the country to use.
As a collaborative effort across agencies, supporting the six cohort Fellows becomes a challenge in sharing information across multiple agencies. Partners need to see the same information for each Fellow at the same time—this requires a technology platform to share records and data in a truly collaborative way.
Freedom FWD recognized the need to leverage technology and “develop new tools, resources, and delivery channels” for youth and caregivers.  To solve this technology challenge, Freedom FWD partnered with Diona to first implement a mobile technology solution. Diona Mobility solutions for NGOs transform mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets into tools for helping NGOs achieve their mission. Using Diona Mobile NGO Visits—a cloud-based solution hosted on the Microsoft Azure Platform—Freedom FWD can create a single digital file for each Forward Fellow, then grant access to the Fellow’s data for seamless visibility across multiple agencies and/or caregivers. The technology solution is “mobile first” and avoids the pitfalls often encountered by agencies that begin by creating separate, disparate solutions resulting in siloed or inaccessible data.
Diona Mobile NGO Visits allows Freedom FWD and collaborating organizations to share information and enable additional advocates and partners as needed. Each agency can report on interactions with Fellows through intuitive note-taking features such as handwriting, typing, speech-to-text, audio and video recordings, and photographs. Additionally, monitoring and reporting on workshop attendance and tracking overall progress can all be done easily through a smart device and then instantly shared in real-time with multiple partners.
With Diona Mobility solutions, Freedom FWD and its partners can improve organizational efficiency, worker productivity,
client tracking and insights, and service outcomes.
The Forward Fellows leadership program is an important step toward Freedom FWD realizing its vision to end commercial sexual exploitation of San Francisco’s youth. But there is still much work to be done. Many partnering organizations still rely on paper files. The Mayor’s Human Trafficking Report in San Francisco 2015 concluded with three major recommendations, the first of which was for systematic screening:
“Government and community-based agencies in San Francisco that work with at-risk populations should institutionalize systematic screenings for survivors of human trafficking. Data from screenings informs research and reporting on trends, demographics, and specific challenges in San Francisco.”
Freedom FWD is clearly making strides to implement technology solutions that will enable a more systematic—and collaborative—approach to data collection, tracking, and reporting for youth at risk of sex trafficking.
Enabled by Diona Mobility solutions and innovative new technology, Freedom FWD will have greater insight and data that allow them to evaluate services and determine areas for improvement to better serve the needs of San Francisco youth who are at risk.
 Human Trafficking Report in San Francisco 2015, Mayor’s Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking, Compiled by Julie Lim and Minouche Kandel, San Francisco Department on the Status of Women
The 2016 Human Trafficking in San Francisco Report is also available.