Posted on

Moldova Eyes Blockchain IDs to Help Curb Child Trafficking

The Eastern European nation of Moldova is mulling the use of blockchain technology to help combat child trafficking in the country.

To discuss possible blockchain-based solutions to the growing issue, digital identification experts from the U.N. Office for Project Services (UNOPS) attended a meeting this week in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, a Reuters report states.

The lack of official identification documents puts rural children especially at risk of trafficking, according to the report, with fake IDs being used to move them across borders.

Reuters cites Yoshiyuki Yamamoto, UNOPS special adviser for blockchain, as saying the technology could be used to provide immutable, unfakeable digital IDs based on biometric data.

Mihail Beregoi, state secretary for Moldova’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, told the news source:

“This is a pressing issue and we are eager to find efficient solutions to help us address it.”

Just this week, the U.N. announced a partnership with World Identity Network (WIN) for the launch of a blockchain identity pilot to protect children from being illegally trafficked.

According to Mariana Dahan, chief executive of WIN, Moldova has become the first country to show a solid interest in its partner pilot project with the U.N.

There have been reports of increasing sex trafficking and forced labor in Moldova. According to a recent classification of countries in terms of human trafficking by the U.S. Department of State, Moldova has been downgraded to Tier 2 level – meaning the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is significantly increasing.

Chained hands image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

Posted on

UN Agencies Turn to Blockchain In Fight Against Child Trafficking

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.

UN image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.