Accepted paper:

Building Apprise: inclusive innovation for enhancing the critical agency of vulnerable populations


Hannah Thinyane (United Nations University Institute of Computing and Society (UNU-CS))
Francisca Sassetti (Royal Holloway University of London, UNESCO Chair in ICT4D and MIDEQ)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the inclusive innovation framework for enhancing the critical agency of vulnerable populations, specifically the development of Apprise, a tool for improving the screening of potential victims of human trafficking and forced labour.

Paper long abstract:

According to the Global Slavery Index, 25 million people today are trapped in forced labour but remain widely unidentified, especially in Asia and the Pacific. Across supply chains, low production costs come hand in hand with exploitative working conditions, which constitute serious human rights violations. In this paper, we discuss an inclusive innovation process and purpose for designing and diffusing digital technology policy intervention. From a series of consultations held in Thailand with stakeholders, governments, NGOs and migrant workers to determine the need for a victim-identification tool, we developed Apprise, a proactive and robust tool for screening vulnerable populations such as migrant workers and identifying potential victims of human trafficking and forced labour. Although it is download on the frontline responder's phone, Apprise is ultimately a tool in the hands of the potential victim. Based on the understanding of technology as amplifier of institutional and human intent and capacity, we argue that, through higher levels of inclusive innovation, it's possible to uncover more of stakeholders and participants' (or actors') underlying motivations and tensions for using digital technology, originally aimed at enhancing the critical agency of vulnerable people. Through a design case study in Thailand, our findings showed that technologies such as Apprise can be misused by stakeholders to demonstrate victim-identification initiatives without increasing the number of identified victims and enhancing their critical agency to leave their exploitative working situation.

panel B1
Inclusive innovation for development: what inclusion for a fairer future?