Innovation That Matters

Colombian app encourages citizens to document illegal child labor

Nonprofit & Social Cause

The Kid Rescue app from Telefónica Telecom in Colombia is now encouraging people to tackle crime by taking geotagged photographs when they spot young people illegally working.

Community-minded initiatives such as citizen journalism have become much more prolific since the advent of smartphones, and this easily accessible technology is also helping to solve crimes. We’ve already seen Hollaback provide a platform for women to share stories of assaults and post geotagged images of harassers, and – in a similar way – the Kid Rescue app from Telefónica Telecom in Colombia is now encouraging people to help locate and document illegal child labor with their handsets. According to a 2011 report from the Colombian National Department of Statistics, some 9.2 percent of children aged 5 to 17 were classed as ‘working’ in the country, while the team behind Kid Rescue claim the number of uneducated children there has reached 1.6 million. With these figures in mind, the app enables citizens who witness children working in the streets to easily send information to the Kid Rescue website in order to create a database of illegal child labor activity which can only be accessed by social workers linked to Fundación Telefónica, the charity arm of the telecoms firm. Users can geotag their location at the time of the spotting, take a photograph of the child if possible and fill out a description of what they witnessed. Social workers can then assess the case and decide if action needs to be taken. The following video demonstrates how the app works: Since launching the app, Kid Rescue has helped over 1,000 working children to be identified and over 60 have been taken off the streets. App developers – are there any other ways smartphone technology can be harnessed for the good of society? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel



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