File this under “brilliant simplicity”:
Pivot provides rescue information to human trafficking victims without detection by their captors. Ordinary-looking sanitary pads are distributed by activists and healthcare providers to suspected victims. Hidden inside each pad is an insert with rescue information and a trafficking hotline number. A victims accesses the insert in the privacy of a restroom, detaches the phone number (disguised as a fortune-cookie tab), and flushes the rest of the insert in the toilet.
The information is printed on flushable paper that dissolves in water.
Pivot is a project by University of Washington graduate art students, art students Kari Gaynor, Josh Nelson, Melanie Wang, Mike Fretto and Adriel Rollins, along with Tad Hirsch, a UW assistant professor of interaction design. They partnered with Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network (WARN) to distribute 1,000 sanitary pads to vulnerable populations regionally. Exactly how and where they distribute them is confidential to protect the victims who may use the products, and no specific results have yet been reported.
They also admit, “Its primary limitation is in exclusively targeting female victims. While women make up the majority of persons trafficked for sex and domestic labor, men are also trafficked, particularly for industry and agricultural work.”
The Industrial Designers Society of America awarded Pivot a Gold Industrial Design Excellence Award and the Design Ignites Change Ideas Award, along with a $1,000 prize that the team used to manufacture the first batch of 1,000 sanitary pads and information sheets.
Pivot is presently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise another $3 505 USD so they can produce another 20,000 pads for distribution to statewide and national anti-human trafficking organizations that have requested the rescue tool. You can donate here.
Thanks to Noah for the tip.
Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network (WARN)
Public Practice Studio
University of Washington