What if emerging technologies such as blockchain could make it harder for criminals to traffic victims and make it easier and quicker for authorities to save them?
Human trafficking affects every country in the world. In fact, estimates say that 20-40 million people are enslaved across the globe, earning criminals profits of approximately $150 billion a year.
The problem is unlikely to go away altogether, but what if emerging technologies such as blockchain and increased data sharing could make it harder for criminals to traffic victims and make it easier and quicker for authorities to save them?
What’s the problem?
Before we start looking at how technology can help solve the problem, it’s important to understand what human trafficking is and how criminals operate.
The term refers to the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour, commercial sexual exploitation, or sexual slavery. Victims are often lured by false promises of lucrative work, stability, education, or a loving relationship.
Although the crime spans all demographics, there are some instances or vulnerabilities that lead to increased susceptibility. For example, runaway and homeless youth, victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war, conflict, or social discrimination are usually more heavily targeted by traffickers.
They control and manipulate these individuals by leveraging the non-portability of many work visas as well as the victims’ lack of familiarity with their surroundings, laws and rights, language fluency, and cultural understanding.
It’s often difficult for victims to get help as traffickers may confiscate their identification documents (if they have them to begin with) and money.
Source/More: How a blockchain-based digital ID system could help tackle human trafficking