John Richmond, United States anti-human trafficking ambassador, and Princess Eugenie of the United Kingdom recently gave their views on how blockchain technology could help in the fight against human tracking, per a Reuters report.
While at a conference in Austria hosted by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), multiple experts bemoaned the growth of human trafficking, pinning the blame on the massive reach that traffickers have access to thanks to the Internet. Princess Eugenie, the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York (and granddaughter to the Queen), argued that specific emerging technologies could amplify the global fight against trafficking, if used correctly.
Speaking at the event, Princess Eugenie, a global advocate against trafficking and the founder of the Anti-Slavery Collective, pointed out that blockchain technology is currently holding a massive impact on the management of supply chains. She also gave a glowing review of the Safe Car Wash app used by Britons to report cases of modern slavery at car washes and other related establishments.
Mobile App that Discovers Slave Labor
The Safe Car Wash app was launched in June 2018 by the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and the Church of England. The app allows users to put in their locations and proof of the existence of slave labor, such as whether the workers’ body language suggests fear or unease. In a separate report on Reuters, the app was said to have found almost a thousand cases of slave labor at various car wash establishments across the United Kingdom.
Speaking on the issue, Richmond, counseled for consistent and realistic progress while the problem persists. He conceded that while technology has the potential to help with stemming the scourge of trafficking, the truth is that there is no “magic tech that we can wave to make everything better.”
However, while the expansion of technology’s scope means that trafficking is bound to rise, he did point out that there are “tech tools that can help people to do their jobs better.”
Blockchain is Helping, but Crypto aids Traffickers
Rounding up his speech, he echoed his sentiment that trafficking can’t be abolished immediately, even with the adoption of cutting-edge technology. Rather, the solution lies in the use of “slow, grinding, day-in, day-out work that can help make a difference.” In truth, the sentiments put forth by both experts seem accurate. However, Richmond’s statement does ring to be especially striking. Blockchain technology has already proven its worth in many ways, including a pilot run developed for the United Nations to fight child trafficking.
While blockchain has proven useful for checking human trafficking, cryptos have been facilitating them. A report by news outlet the Jamaica Gleaner states that traffickers have turned to digital assets to aid their work, pointing out that most of them use cryptocurrencies to hide their paper trail and avoid oversight by law enforcement and financial agencies.
The Monster that refuses to Die
So, the problem isn’t with combating trafficking. Instead, it is in finding a lasting solution to the epidemic. Sadly, even with the adoption of blockchain technology and other forms of technology, human trafficking won’t magically disappear. The industry is estimated to be worth $150 billion worldwide. A report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime revealed that large areas of impunity in slavery exist in African, Asian, and South American countries.
Convictions in these regions are also very low, and as expected, technological advancement seems to be growing slowly as well. So, while the Western world can rest on blockchain and other cutting-edge technologies in the fight against trafficking, global trafficking rates won’t see a major drop if these regions aren’t “empowered.”