NEW YORK: A cellphone tool to survey working conditions of Ghanaian fishermen and a mobile system to collect forced labour data are among the finalists in a global competition to harness technology to identify enslaved workers in supply chains, organisers said.
The contest, Rethink Supply Chains, aims to send a message that efforts to make supply chains transparent and slave-free create market opportunities, said Catherine Chen, director of investments at Humanity United, a non-profit participant in the project.
Some 18.7 million people around the world are estimated to be trapped in forced labour in the private economy, generating US$150bil (RM630.60bil) in annual profits, according to the International Labour Organisation.
Five finalists were selected among dozens of applicants, including software companies, regulatory-compliance consulting firms and mobile application developers, from 11 nations.
Many were already trying to developing fixes to other social and economic problems, said Chen.
"It's exciting to be able to activate those technology companies and technologists themselves and get them thinking about another social issue," she said.
The other three finalists were an online registry for reporting conditions of fishing crews at sea, a system to utilise internet reporting to uncover labour exploitation and a mobile platform to look at remittances to combat human trafficking.
The winner of the US$250,000 (RM1.05mil) prize offered by the Partnership for Freedom, a venture including Humanity United and the US government, will be announced in April. — Reuters