Virginia Tech Students Work to Stop Human Trafficking - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Virginia Tech Students Work to Stop Human Trafficking

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Some Virginia Tech students are spending their summer trying to help combat human trafficking.

The three students won first and second place a national contest for their concept.

Wes Williams of Roanoke, Va., a junior majoring in applied economic management in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Nicholas Montgomery of South Riding, Va., a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering; and Kwamina Orleans-Pobee of Annandale, Va., a sophomore majoring in computer science in the College of Engineering, submitted two ideas to the contest held through the Challenge Slavery online community.

The United States Agency for International Development asked college students to develop creative technology solutions to help prevent human trafficking, rescue victims, and provide assistance to survivors.

The students developed AboliShop, a browser extension on a web page like Amazon.

You shop for items online and then it takes your shopping cart and compares the items to a database from Free to Work, an anti-trafficking group.

The group gives each company a letter grade from A to F based on wages, treatment of workers, policies, and more.

The creators say they want to stop modern-day slavery. 

While the database already existed for consumers to use, the team thought it could be even more powerful.

"It needed to be as easy as possible," Montgomery said. "With the browser extension, it's just one click and someone can get that information. If it requires too much research and energy to access the database, then the number of people who are actually going to use it goes down very quickly."

AboliShop isn't available yet. They are aiming to launch it within the next six months.