According to United Nations statistics, nearly 230 million of the world’s children under the age of five have never been recorded. The vast majority of them live in the poorest countries, such as Moldova. Undocumented children and minors are easy prey for human traffickers, who often use fake identification documents to transport them across borders. Once trafficked, these children and minors are sold to sex brothels, caught in modern slavery rings, and even used for the illegal human organ trade. According to the Global Challenge organizers, with new technologies and solutions, such as digital identity on the blockchain, there is now a significantly higher chance of catching traffickers and securing data on an immutable ledger, further making any such trafficking attempts more traceable and preventable.
Speaking of the opportunity to use the blockchain technology to solve this humanitarian challenge, Joseph Lubin, co-Founder of Ethereum and Founder of ConsenSys, said, “ConsenSys is honored to have been selected to support this critical initiative of the World Identity Network (WIN). The Ethereum platform has a unique ability to create blockchain-based identity systems that could alleviate the systemic causes of human trafficking. The power of distributed networks makes it virtually impossible for data on the system to be improperly manipulated by unauthorized actors.”
“We’re proud to be working with ConsenSys on designing and implementing a blockchain-based ID system that will be used to solve some of the most pressing issues humanity faces today,” says Mariana Dahan, Founder and CEO of World Identity Network (WIN). “Technology itself is not a silver bullet, nor the single answer to the humanitarian challenges we face. But it can act as a catalyst and provide incentives for collaboration.”
“Working with agencies and stakeholders on the ground to pilot these solutions will be key to deploying innovative blockchain solutions to solve this humanitarian challenge,” says Vanessa Grellet, Executive Director at ConsenSys Blockchain for Social Impact team.
Robert Greenfield, CTO of ConsenSys Social Impact noted, “By localizing problem sets that drive the prevalence of human trafficking in the region, we can begin to develop iterative, effective, and simple solutions that build upon the need for public policy around self-sovereign identity solutions and demonstrate to the international community innovative ways through which the Ethereum ecosystem can be leveraged to help save lives.”
The partners recognize the need for enhanced collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders, each bringing their unique perspective to the issue.
“When we run Challenges on the Unite Ideas platform, we encounter an incredible diversity of civic-minded technologists and socially-responsible companies who care about education, poverty, health, the environment and many other social issues,” said Jorge Martinez Navarrete, Lead, Innovation Unit at the UN Office of Information and Communications Technology. “Today it is possible to collaborate globally on open-source software projects bringing together a multi-cultural and cross-sectoral pool of talent for social good. For instance, the ‘Blockchain for Humanity’ Global Challenge brought together blockchain companies with UN entities and civil society organizations.”
The results of such initiatives could contribute to the work of many other United Nations agencies, international organizations and governments around the world.
Tariq Malik, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Chief Technical Advisor, says that, “Digital identity on the blockchain can help curb human trafficking and it is incumbent on us all to explore and understand how this technology can be used for social good”.
To read more about the rationale behind the “Blockchain for Humanity” Global Challenge and the solutions presented, including the winning one from ConsenSys, download the report: “Blockchain for Humanity: Turning Invisible Children into Invincible Ones“.
To view the winning solution on the United Nations UniteIdeas platform, please visit ideas.unite.un.org
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