SMU Community Hackathon

Addressing Human Trafficking in Atlantic Canada  

Saint Mary’s University, in partnership with Volta, is delighted to present the SMU Community Hackathon- Addressing Human Trafficking in Atlantic Canada 

Human trafficking and sexual exploitation are devastating to survivors, families, and our most vulnerable populations. Nova Scotia boasts Canada’s highest provincial human trafficking rate. It is with this understanding that Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre (SMUEC) and partners aim to create awareness about human trafficking while bringing youth together with key stakeholders to explore ways technology can be used to tackle this issue. 

(Si vous avez besoin d’informations en français, allez ici https://arthurlirvingentrepreneurshipcentre.ca/fr_humantraffickinghackathon/ )


The project is bringing together youth for a monthlong initiative, that kicked off with a two-day virtual hackathon on February 18th and February 19th, 2021. In teams, participants will develop innovative solutions in combating human sex trafficking from a preventative perspective. The hack portion included speakers, panel sessions, brainstorming workshops and hands-on opportunities for participants to work with peers and mentors in bringing their ideas to life.  

We are now in the project’s second phase. Teams are continuing with additional skill development training sessions and mentorship as they develop their ideas over the month before delivering final pitches to an expert panel for a chance to win cash and other prizes.


Participants will select and address one challenge from the following problem statements during the project: 

  • How might we use technology to aid service workers (taxis, bar/hotel staff, youth workers, etc.) in recognizing and reporting potential human trafficking red flags?  
  • How might we leverage technology to notify vulnerable youth of the presence of someone involved in human trafficking?  
  • How might we utilize technology to provide a safe way for vulnerable youth to notify authorities if they have been exposed to the human trafficking industry?

Final pitches would be delivered on one of these challenges.


    *Content Warning: This event may contain details and information that may be unsettling for some individuals



    In the second phase of the event, participants will continue to receive mentorship and training to further develop their ideas before pitching their solutions to an expert panel for a chance to receive cash and other prizes valued over $5,000 dollars. Registered participants who attend all Phase 2 workshops and submit their recorded pitch are eligible for a participation honorarium (*up to a maximum of 25 students).

    Phase 2 Participation Honorarium – $200

    1st place team- $3,000 

    2nd place team- $2,000 

    3rd place team- $1,000 



    Two-Day Hackathon:

    February 18, 2021 – February 19, 2021, 9am – 5pm AST

    Workshops and Mentor Sessions:

    March 19th – 1pm – 3pm AST

    March 25th – 1pm – 3pm AST

    Pitch Submission Deadline

    March 28th – 11:59pm AST

    Closing Ceremony & Awards:

    April 7th – 6pm-7:30pm AST



      Contact us

      To know more or for any questions reach out to us via email at smucommunityhack@smu.ca

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