Coding Dojo, a Seattle computer programming school, is using technology to fight human trafficking. The school offers a boot camp for people interested in computer programming and software, and this winter Coding Dojo plans to start a pilot program for young survivors of human trafficking. As part of the program, survivors of human trafficking would participate in the boot camp for free, helping them gain real-world skills and increasing their chances of getting a steady job.

These factors are crucial for young people trying to leave the sex trade and to break the cycle of abuse. “For a survivor, there’s this feeling of hopelessness that ‘even if I were to get out, could I ever really be free?’” said Jessica Haq, an industry activist.

The program will offer what survivors need. It includes three months of coding, opportunities to create a portfolio, networking to get jobs, and help in keeping those jobs. Coding Dojo could also cover housing and transportation costs for some participants.

According to Richard Wang, CEO of Coding Dojo, the boot camp has been a success for its usual students. “People come out of our program with all different backgrounds and are able to make two-to-three times more salary than what they were making before,” Wang said.

In King County, hundreds of children are being trafficked; boys and girls are usually recruited into the sex trade between the ages of 12 to 14.

Coding Dojo hopes to make a positive impact in the community and in the lives of survivors of human trafficking.

Jowelle M. is a college student interested in sociology, political science, and Spanish. Aside from academics, Jowelle enjoys blogging, reading, music, and spending time with family. She is happiest when she is working with others to improve the community.