Ms. Kwynn Gonzalez-Pons, a University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health graduate student, has developed an idea to help save the lives of sex trafficking victims worldwide through a simple piece of jewelry – and her invention has recently been accepted for presentation at the Social Impact Lab of the 2016 Global Health & Innovation Conference at Yale University.
She will have an opportunity to present her global impact solution to a select audience at Yale, where she will gain feedback and mentoring from conference speakers and other experts participating in the event.
[Photo: Ms. Kwynn Gonzalez-Pons]
Her design – called the “Safe Move” bracelet, equipped with a global tracking device – has the potential to assist law enforcement agencies in locating missing children and adults. The invention would be worn as an ordinary bracelet, or if risks of detection are too high, its locator chip could be removed to hide in a shoe or pocket.Ms. Gonzalez-Pons’ plan is to make the bracelets available through discreet Safe Move stations in hot-spot trafficking areas like airport restrooms, bus stations and hotel lobbies, where victims may be lured or transported.
The number of missing individuals worldwide continues to grow each year, and stopping this problem is a top priority for law enforcement and other agencies.
According to the FBI, the number of domestic and international victims, mostly females and children, is in the millions. Sex slavery and trafficking, the FBI reports, is happening not just in foreign countries but also “locally in cities and towns, both large and small, throughout the United States, right in citizens’ backyards.”
For Ms. Gonzalez-Pons, the inspiration to address this problem came from a challenge issued to North Texas students during National Public Health Week. Students with ideas for improving the world were invited to enter a Health Innovations Contest.
After winning the contest and receiving encouragement from peers and faculty, she completed a summer internship with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, gaining additional perspective on this important public health problem and becoming even more convinced to take her idea to the next level.