“Human trafficking is far more deep-rooted than we could ever imagine.”
Princess Eugenie showed her passion for fighting slavery as she travelled to Vienna, Austria Monday to deliver a keynote address at the 19th Alliance Against Trafficking in Persons Conference. Eugenie is the co-founder of the Anti-Slavery Collective.
The two-day conference welcomed some of the world’s leading anti-trafficking experts along with survivors of human trafficking and NGOs. The theme focused on “Using Technology to combat trafficking in Human Beings: Turning a Liability into an Asset,” and representatives from companies such as Microsoft, Nokia, Thorn, and British Telecom attended to discuss the new tools they have to help prevent trafficking.
The Princess, whose most recent initiative is the “Tech Tackles Trafficking,” speaker series, discussed how tech could help fight modern slavery & human trafficking.
“When I began to write this speech I Googled words used to describe technology,” Eugenie said. One of them was “advance guard,” and she went on to discuss how this tied into preventing trafficking. “The thesaurus is saying technology is the advance guard, like a country’s army or police force, government, or community of civil servants. Tech can and should be our advance guard in combatting the trafficking of human beings.”
Although the Princess admitted she’s not an expert at technology (she shared how it took her “three attempts to pass my Microsoft desktop exams at school”), she discussed how she has “seen how technology and social media can raise awareness for this global epidemic.”
“It was fantastic to have the opportunity to speak at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) 19th Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference,” Princess Eugenie said on her official Instagram account.
“57 OSCE participating States and 11 Partners for co-operation from Europe, Central Asia, and North America have come together to examine how technology can be leveraged in order to support survivors and to break the cycle of human trafficking.”
Princess Eugenie founded the Anti-Slavery Collective in 2017 with her friend Julia de Boinville. The pair travelled to India in 2012 and visited The Women’s Interlink Foundation, and after learning how the organisation helped rescue girls from slavery, they set out to do something to help.
In her conference keynote speech, the Princess shared how she met a woman at a Salvation Army Safe House who was trafficked by her neighbour in Manchester and how this also inspired her to get started.
“That was it, I thought to myself. I’m with you the whole way,” Eugenie said. “From that moment Jules and I started the Anti-Slavery Collective.”
On the Anti-Slavery Collective website, Princess Eugenie and Ms de Boinville said they “were shocked to discover the extent to which slavery still exists. In fact, there are more enslaved people today than at any other point in history, and at any one time, someone is being trafficked within a mile of where you live. We often associate slavery with chains and shackles, but modern slavery is a hidden crime that is often hard to detect.”