Not everything can be predicted. It seems like there's no place where this is truer than when it comes to love and romance.
The image above obviously doesn't predict love, but it does draw a heart. Even better, it centers the heart around the origin. Besides being sort of a cool looking date, 20140214 was Valentine's day. Whether you were home alone or with a special someone, I hope you had a good time. And while we can't predict love, there is something important to me that I think we could try to predict.
Demographers have shown that there are between 60-100 million missing women worldwide. That's more victims than the causalities of all the 20th century wars combined (Half the Sky, 2012). This issue is heart-breaking (pun intended). It's hard for me to imagine this many young people kidnapped or coerced into situations where the idea of love is so corrupted.
"We must find a way to make cruelty relatable or else it goes unnoticed.... The real story are those who rise above incredible cruelty. Because, without these people, cruelty wins. And these are not situations that will ever be fixed- but that doesn't mean you don't continue to fight that fight and try."
George Clooney in Half the Sky.
So I have been thinking for some time about how to contribute to this area, but other than trying to help raise awareness, I struggling to figure out how I could contribute to a better understanding of this problem. However, not all analytical hope is lost. Ideally a scientist is compelled to publish the results of a study independent of whether the results favor their initial hypothesis. The truth is that sometimes this does not happen. Actually, the truth is that this happens so many times that there is a special word for it. Fortunately statisticians have armed scientists to understand where, when, and how often this "file drawer problem" happens within a given field. The crux of this technique posits that statistical results to tests such as t-tests, ANOVA, etc. should follow known (normal) distributions. If the published results do not fit this distribution in one way or another then the notion is that the disparity represents studies that scientists have either not published or not performed.
File drawer problem could apply to the problem of human trafficking. For instance, it is tricky to know the true incidence rate for these crimes in countries where records are either poorly or inconsistently kept. In Sierra Leone, the definitions of this crime differ based upon the age of the victim. In many countries no records are kept at all. And, overall, I have found hardly any data related to this problem. Nonetheless we need scientists, analysts, governments, and people to care about this problem. We need people to work together to stop this issue since, in my opinion, it is one of the most tragic issues of our generation.
Data Sources: Valentine's Equation
Please help me find datasets related to this issue. I've already searched the WHO, data.gov, and the U.S. State Department.