UN Agencies Turn to Blockchain In Fight Against Child Trafficking

The United Nations has partnered with the World Identity Network to develop a blockchain identity pilot aimed to help curb child trafficking.

AccessTimeIconNov 13, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:09 a.m. UTC
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The United Nations has partnered with the World Identity Network (WIN) to develop a blockchain identity pilot aimed to help curb child trafficking.

Announced during the Humanitarian Blockchain Summit in New York on Friday, the pilot involves participation from the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology (UN-OICT), a press release indicates.

Storing digital identities on a blockchain, the release states, provides a "significantly higher chance of catching traffickers." Additionally, securing identity data on an immutable ledger will make trafficking attempts "more traceable and preventable."

According to Dr. Mariana Dahan, co-founder and CEO of WIN, "invisible" children under the age of five and who do not possess a birth certificate are at "risk" and can fall into the hands of child traffickers. These children are often missed by social programs offered by governments or development agencies.

She added:

"Several developing countries are actively looking at more efficient ways to prevent child trafficking. Identification is always at the heart of the solution."

Child trafficking uses fake identification documents to transport young people across borders for eventual forced participation in serious illicit activities including the sex trade, the illegal human organ trade, and others.

Yannick Glemarec, UN women deputy executive director said, "Child trafficking is one of the greatest human rights abuses."

Blockchain, she continued, would be a "potentially powerful" technology to address the problem and potentially save "millions of children."

In a move to foster the pilot, the partners are seeking support from private companies, NGOs, academia, and others that are willing to contribute to help end child trafficking. Plans were also revealed for the launch of a "Global Challenge" that would seek ideas and expertise in using blockchain for humanitarian projects.

Child trafficking image via Shutterstock


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