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CSE Colloquium 2012-2013 Rane Johnson-Stempson


 Human Trafficking and Technology:  A framework for understanding the role of technology in the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the U.S.

Dr. Rane Johnson-Stempson Principal Research Director Microsoft Research

Friday, March 22, 2013 1425 Biomedical and Physical Sciences 11:00am – 12:00pm

Abstract: Networked technologies—including the Internet, mobile phones, and social media—alter how information flows and how people communicate. There is little doubt that technology is increasingly playing a role in the practices and processes surrounding human trafficking: the illegal trade of people for commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, and other forms of modern-day slavery. Human trafficking has many facets to it and technology’s role varies as a result. Yet, little is known about costs and benefits of technology’s role. We do not know if there are more human trafficking victims as a result of technology, nor do we know if law enforcement can identify perpetrators better as a result of the traces that they leave. One thing that we do know is that technology makes many aspects of human trafficking more visible and more traceable, for better and for worse. Focusing on whether technology is good or bad misses the point; it is here to stay, and it is imperative that we understand the role that it is playing. More importantly, we need to develop innovative ways of using technology to address the horrors of human trafficking.

This talk describes empirical research at Microsoft Research into the role that technology plays in human trafficking. Too many new interventions and policies are being driven by intuition, speculation, and extrapolation from highly publicized incidents. In order to move towards a more coherent and grounded approach to addressing the role of technology, it is important to begin untangling technology’s role in different facets of the human trafficking ecosystem.

Host: Laura Dillon (, Computer Science & Engineering

Biography:  Rane Johnson-Stempson is the Education and Scholarly Communication Principal Research Director, where she engages with academics worldwide and identifies high-impact areas for research investigations. She is currently working on projects that use technology to transform how we learn about history and how we eradicate human trafficking. Rane is also the lead for growing, attracting and retaining women in research, science and engineering. She is actively wworking wiith NCWITT, Anita Boorg, CRA-WW, ACM-WW, IEEE-WW and reseearchers on how too grow thee pipeline of womenn in researrch, science and enngineering. She has been selected tto lead several Whi tehouse ccommitteees to support humann traffickingg and techhnology inclusion. PPreviouslyy, as the WWW Directtor of Edu cation Strategy sshe was responsiblee for multti-stakeholder partnnerships, CCisco-Inteel-Microsoft Alliance, World Ecoonomic Forum- Globbal Educattion Initiattive, FastTrack Initiative--Private Constituenccy and helping our local teamms around the worldd use the powerr of technology as aan accelerrator to traansform eeducation to meet loocal governmeent priorities to drivve econommic and woorkforce d evelopmeent in the 21st century.

After 10 yyears at MMicrosoft, RRane has held a variety of poositions. SShe started as an Public Secctor Globaal Accountt Managerr, Server aand Tools Core Infraastructuree Field Liaison, CCEE Regionnal Core Infrastructture Produuct Manager, and CEE Regionnal Leader responsible for devel oping andd supportinng the misssion in heelping all IT Professionnal and ITT Managerrs in CEE tto reach thheir full pootential.

Rane is veery passioonate abouut educatiion and teechnology with sixteeen years of experiencce. She haas served as the Exeecutive Diirector of California Skills USAA-VICA, IT Projectt Managerr for Guidaant Corporration, Midddle School Math annd Science Teacher aand IT Direector for tthe San Frrancisco UUnified Schhool Distriict. She haas sat in the boaards of topp Educatioon non-proofits and oon legislattive commmittees andd task forces. Shhe has currrently beeen selecteed to servee of four WWhitehousse committtees from the Office of SScience annd Technoology Policcy. Rane is a graduuate of Bucknell Universityy with a BS Mechannical Enginneering, BAA Econommics/Financce, and Geeorge Fox Univeersity withh an Execuutive MBA in Transfoormationaal Leadersship. She currently serves onn the advissory boardd for the UUniversity of Washington iSchhool, WEPAN, BBucknell EEngineering Excellennce Prograam and ACCM-W.