New Audio Available for Media Use: Combatting Human Trafficking and Forced Labor


Ashley Smith
Public Affairs Coordinator

New Audio Available for Media Use: Combatting Human Trafficking and Forced Labor

BALTIMORE, MD, April 27, 2022 – New audio is available for media use featuring Dr. Kendra Taylor, the President and CEO of KEYfficiencies, Inc., discussing combatting human trafficking and forced labor. KEYfficiencies is a consulting firm that gives clients increased efficiency in operations and decision strategy by using key principles of industrial and system engineering. She’s also an adjunct professor at the University of Dayton. This content is made available by INFORMS, the largest association for the decision and data sciences. All sound should be attributed to Dr. Kendra Taylor. What follows are 4 questions and responses. These responses were provided on April 25th, 2022.


Question 1: How would you describe the global crisis of human trafficking and forced labor?

Time Cue: 0:37, Soundbite Duration: 1:30

“The words I would use to describe the current global crisis of human trafficking and forced labor are complex but not intractable. And I use those words because this crisis is one that has so many different players and influencers that increase the complexity. In addition, variables such as time, country, laws, religious views, cultures, languages, even dialects, really increase the complexity of this issue. But it is not intractable. And I say it's not intractable from a computational complexity perspective. Intractable problems are problems for which there exists no efficient algorithms to solve them. In other words, this problem is solvable. There are companies using analytics today to solve pieces of this problem. Humans have solved significant social problems over the course of human history and with forethought and tools like analytics, problems such as eradicating diseases and increasing human productivity, with advances in transportation and communication, have been solved. When we put our minds to solving a problem  there really is so much that we can do, and that we already have done. So, this means there is hope for how we can address and end something like human trafficking and forced labor globally.”


Question 2: In what countries and industries are we most likely to find illegal human trafficking and labor?

Time Cue: 02:15, Soundbite Duration: 1:36

“I'll start with the countries where we're most likely to find illegal trafficking and forced human labor. It happens in the United States, but it is more common typically in our third world countries, the countries where there is instability in the government, and where laws regarding human trafficking or labor practices are not written or are not enforced. And there are also countries where, like Ukraine for example, there is a climate of instability because of war, and in those countries you have those who come in and take advantage of the situation, and falsely recruit individuals into modern day slavery. Regarding the industries where we're most likely to find illegal human trafficking and forced labor, those industries are industries related to commerce goods services such as agriculture construction janitorial work that are in high demand. So, the country really influences the type of raw materials or services that are sourced from that country and have high demand. So, for example, the fishing industry in Thailand you have in the ivory coast the cocoa industry where we get our chocolate, and the Democratic Republic of Congo you have mining, so you have these industries where you'll find illegal human trafficking and forced labor.”


Question 3: What are the best strategies to counter the labor trafficking problem? 

Time Cue: 04:00, Soundbite Duration: 1:08

“I think one of the best strategies to counter the labor trafficking problem is a combination of awareness and analytics. And specifically for those companies that are closer to the end of the supply chain and most consumer facing. Because those are the companies that see the larger portion of the profits and they have the ability to reach back up the supply chain in order to influence the treatment of workers in that supply chain. So, starting with awareness, letting companies, organizations businesses know where the labor trafficking is in their supply chains is helpful. And then using analytics to actually track where the labor trafficking is using technology such as blockchain technology to have transparency and contracts, documentation, verification, certification of labor, and products, goods and services, using all types of analytics, such as predictive descriptive, prescriptive analytics to help inform decision makers throughout the supply chain.”


Question 4: What should the United States and its citizens do now to disincentivize traffickers?

Time Cue: 05:15, Soundbite Duration: 1:35 

“The United States and its citizens have a significant ability to disincentivize traffickers, primarily because the United States consumes many of the goods worldwide that are produced. So, for example, you have two types of trafficking. You have labor trafficking and sex trafficking and under the umbrella of labor trafficking. You have forced marriages so when we talk about labor trafficking, we have to remember that buyers tend to have a lot of the power. Companies that pull demand through the supply chain have the power to put in place zero-tolerance policies and to allow only those individuals and companies in their supply chain that are compliant. On the other hand, when you talk about sex traffickers the buyers again have the power. We can rescue as many children as we want to but as long as there are buyers, as long as there is demand, suppliers will find a way to provide supply. In other words, without demand you don't need supply. So, educating buyers and what they're actually engaging in, helping them to get out of the mindset, the circumstances, the situations, where they are susceptible to buying individuals who are a part of sex trafficking will help to end sex trafficking. So, both on the labor trafficking and the sex trafficking part, we have the ability to inform buyers and disincentivize traffickers.”

# # #



With more than 12,000 members from around the world, INFORMS is the largest association for the decision and data sciences, made up of professionals and students. INFORMS members support organizations and governments at all levels as they work to transform data into information, and information into insights that lead to more efficient, effective, equitable and impactful results.



Ashley Smith