You’ve been reading about howcollaboration is part of our DNA and fundamental to our mission. We constantly seek opportunities for collective impact & shared success, recognizing we are better together. Even the tools we build and solutions we design foster collaboration.
When we launched Lighthouse in early 2019, we envisioned that the software would power a network of professionals to identify victims of exploitation, coordinate their care, and see trends in human trafficking data. Our partnership with the Child Sex Trafficking Team(CSTT) in the Office of the Texas Governor is instrumental to achieving that vision.
The CSTT’s mission is to build sustainable capacity, enhance expertise, promote policies, and create new and leverage existing collaborations to:
We’ve collaborated with the CSTT since 2016, and our partnership deepened when they awarded Allies a major grant in October 2019 to fund the Lighthouse Data Initiative, an expansion of Lighthouse’s capabilities. The goal of the initiative was to make Lighthouse the first software capable of aggregating statewide data, trends, and insights in one place — a single source of truth about human trafficking data in Texas for field professionals. Our work will enhance strategic planning, inform resource allocation, and support the efficacy and development of survivor services. Given the sensitive nature of the data collected, only authorized Lighthouse users will have initial access to the expanded platform. Over time, Allies will work closely with the CSTT to ensure the powerful new insights generated by Lighthouse inform the broader field and general public.
Our partnership with the CSTT has been strategic in several key areas including distribution, ideation, and access. With their endorsement, Lighthouse is now used by 47 organizations and nearly 500 professionals across Texas — an 840% increase in growth since our partnership began. As experts in the field, they’ve been essential thought partners, contributing to the design of the platform and providing user feedback. As a team within an influential government agency, they’ve helped achieve access to data sources that would not otherwise be available to a small nonprofit. We’ve ingested demographics and screening results from over 30,000 youth in Texas who are vulnerable to trafficking, and we’ve collected performance measures from over 75 organizations directly serving those who are exploited.
The deeper privilege has been working with such a dedicated, smart, and compassionate team. The CSTT embodies the best of what it means to be public servants. They have important and challenging jobs trying to tackle one of the biggest human rights abuses in one of the largest, most diverse states. They navigate a staggeringly broad range of stakeholders, issues, and demands on any given day with poise. We’ve learned about family members, seen pets on Zoom(including a Senegal parrot who laughs at jokes and eats blueberries!), and swapped stories about self-care and hobbies(running, travel, and bass guitar).
It’s safe to say that our partnership with the CSTT is pioneering how data and technology are used to protect freedom and dignity. Like us, they believe that better data saves lives, and they’ve taken the extraordinary step to invest in innovative solutions. Watch this space as we continue to share updates from our collaboration with the CSTT over the next few months!