This blog is part of our People Behind Purpose at Cisco series that focuses on employees driving Cisco’s purpose to Power an Inclusive Future for All. Each blog highlights a different Cisco employee whose work positively impacts people, communities, or the planet. The series was formerly known as people behind Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Cisco.
July 30 is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Globally, an estimated 24.9 million people are subjected to human trafficking, which generates an estimated $150 billion annually in illicit profits, per the 2021 National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking White House report. According to UNICEF, more than 1.2 million children are trafficked across international borders each year. More than 17,000 people are trafficked into the United States each year. Many are children. These are very sobering statistics that only continue to grow each year.
The Foundation for a Slavery Free World (SFW) is one organization that has partnered with Cisco through Cisco’s Community Impact to end human trafficking by public outreach via education and events, supporting law enforcement’s efforts to rescue victims, and collaborating with the IT industry to develop new technologies. Cisconian Scarlet Estrada, CX enablement program manager, shares about her involvement with SFW and how all Cisconians can be an advocate for this important topic.
Tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to Cisco?
Scarlet: I was born in Venezuela and began my career with Chevron, working several different analyst positions in both Venezuela and California for a little over ten years.
I then moved to Canada to start a new life with my young family, starting with Boston Pizza as a community relations coordinator, which allowed me to start a new professional network and afforded me the flexibility to raise my young children at the time.
I also held positions as a quality engineering assistant, communications coordinator, and client services account coordinator for different companies.
Through the years, I kept in touch with many colleagues in the corporate world. A friend who was at Cisco reached out to me in 2018 to let me know about a renewals manager position within Cisco’s Customer Experience (CX) organization, stating that my background in account coordination, customer experience and marketing would be beneficial to the team. I interviewed, got the job, and began my Cisco career in November 2018.
What is your current role at Cisco, and how do you incorporate Purpose into your everyday work?
Scarlet: I am part of CX IB Methodology core program team responsible for consultants’ enablement as well as program development. We partner with renewals teams to make recommendations for services and software renewals, simplifying the renewals landscape and aligning on sales motions to help Cisco optimize customer solutions. My passion is to translate complexity into a simple customer’s lens. I have always sought out roles where my primary purpose is to serve and I am always looking for a better, simpler way to do things. People often come to me when they want someone to explain why things are playing out a certain way and to pick up on the hidden complexities of a situation. Every day I strive to make a difference and drive impactful results for our CX organization and Cisco. Working at Cisco offers great flexibility, interacting with people worldwide daily. For me, on top of this, I love to use my Time 2 Give hours (T2G) to help with the migrant community and their issues.
How did you first become involved in the Foundation for a Slavery Free World?
Scarlet: I first learned about the Foundation for a Slavery Free World through my daughter in late 2021. She is an actor and had a role on a movie with fellow actor Marisol Nichols, who is the founder and executive director of the foundation.
In between movie takes, I had the opportunity to learn about Marisol’s work as an undercover agent to take down traffickers and she shared about an operation where several women from Venezuela were rescued in the Caribbean. Learning about this, and how it affects people from my home country, motivated me to help find a way to get involved with Slavery Free World.
Marisol has been a part of numerous undercover stings leading to the successful arrest of dozens of traffickers and child predators, as well as liberating numerous women and children. And her passion, education, and advocacy for this important and global crisis moved me to help secure a grant through Bright Funds to support SFW’s work.
Why is volunteering with Slavery Free World important to you?
Scarlet: As a mom, you are concerned for your children’s wellbeing, especially in this digital age where it is very easy for online predators and bad actors to get to vulnerable children. They’re a lot more exposed to the world out there than any previous generations.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) data shows a 35% increase year over year in online child sexual exploitation reports. Sadly, it happens in Canada as predators can reach children online anywhere in the world. I have had to protect my children personally from suspicious people and groomers trying to connect with them online.
Also, the connection to my birthplace Venezuela and the exposure risks and vulnerabilities of women and children as they try to migrate to other countries for better opportunities is especially close to me. Any opportunity I have to help make a positive difference to prevent trafficking from occurring is important to me.
What inroads has Slavery Free World made to combat trafficking?
Scarlet: Slavery Free World (SFW) has reached millions through the website, Marisol’s podcast, and on its social media platforms.
It has multiplied its podcast subscribers and reached 10’s of millions from its education campaigns. Marisol has also been invited to speak at the prestigious Yahoo Makers conference on her work in anti-trafficking, appeared on numerous talk shows, including Access Hollywood, KTLA, and Today Extra.
As well as speaking at numerous government events such as the AG’s Alliance, meeting with law enforcement, and continuing legal education events on human trafficking to discuss how to prevent it, SFW and Marisol are also passionate about educating parents and children on dangers of child traffickers online.
SFW is also meeting with social media platforms about the ways technology can be part of the solution to save women and children from this increasing crime, and in educating and spreading awareness about this most serious issue.
Marisol herself through her undercover work with her foundation has personally assisted in the rescue of numerous women and children and brought dozens of pedophiles and traffickers to justice.
The Marisol Nichols podcast is a true crime show where she talks about her undercover work to bring child predators and traffickers to justice in partnership with key organizations. The second season of her podcast, which will be released soon, includes an episode with Meta on the technology side of this issue.
What are some ways people can get involved in helping with Slavery Free World?
Scarlet: There are several ways anyone can get involved with helping Slavery Free World spread awareness and advocacy.
- Check out the SFW website and educate yourself.
- Sign up for and share Marisol’s podcast with your social networks.
- Donate to https://cisco.benevity.org/en-ca/campaigns/609
- Invite Marisol to come speak at an upcoming organization event.
- Educate your children and community on the dangers and warning signs of trafficking through SFW’s numerous resources.
- If you notice something dangerous online or in your community that could be related to trafficking, contact your local law enforcement right away. In the United States, you can also reach out to National Center for Missing & Exploited Children – 24-Hour Hotline – 1-800-843-5678 and the National Human Trafficking Hotline – Call 1-888-373-7888 ( TTY: 711) | *Text 233733.
“This is a dark subject and good people don’t usually know about it. But for anything to be done to fix this, we need good people be aware of it. So that real change can occur, and children can be free.”
– Marisol Nichols
Please also check out this podcast episode on the rescuing of Venezuelan women and children.