Women & Technology



Transforming survivors of human trafficking into software professionals

Team Lead

Jessica Hubley

Ms. Susan Burgess-Lent

To some extent, it seems that this initiative creates a solution for the job marketplace and not particularly for trafficked women, who may not be inclined toward coding or any other technical field.
What might be their options?

Jessica Hubley

In order to survive, trafficked women must exhibit a high level of problem solving (with few to no resources) and grit - which happen to also be the two best predictors of a successful software engineer. You would likely be as surprised as these survivors to find that they are very well-suited to technical, high-skilled work as programmers - indeed, they spend their whole lives absorbing societal messages that people like them can't succeed at high skilled work.

Every survivor is as different as any human being, and with ~40-50 million humans trafficked annually, there's sure to be plenty of survivors who don't click with tech. However, I submit to you that assuming all survivors are alike - or that as a group they are unsuited for any particular skill, is a result of victim-shaming societal messaging and not rooted in the reality of survivors' talents.

I do agree that the world needs many more job opportunities and training programs of different kinds for survivors, I just know first-hand how many survivors actually make awesome engineers.

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