Competition Alert: UN opens challenge to use blockchain against child trafficking​

At this point in civilization, we have come far in terms of development. But ridiculous as it may sound, some of the rotten inhumane practices of the past still persist to this day. One such heinous practice is that of human trafficking. Many of us live so far removed and detached from this reality that we may have never encountered anything of this sort in our lives. And yet, that doesn’t change the fact that this is happening as we speak.

Reports vary as to what the actual statistics are in human trafficking, particularly because an elusive hundred billion-dollar underground criminal market won’t let anyone cough up information on them that easily. The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor and human trafficking generates around $150 billion worldwide, with 26% of the victims being children. Below are just some of the harrowing figures.


“Worldwide, almost 20% of all trafficking victims are children. However, in some parts of Africa and the Mekong region, children are the majority (up to 100% in parts of West Africa).” Report from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

To step up the fight to protect children, the UN has opened up a competition challenging thinkers to find a way to use blockchains and artificial intelligence (AI) against child trafficking. The competition revolves around Moldova, a poor European country that has been on the UN’s watch list for being a hotbed for human trafficking.

To join the competition, you must devise an elaborate plan answering the question, “how can blockchain technology be used to help prevent child trafficking in Moldova?

Although the solution should be specific to current conditions in Moldova, the competition is open to all entries from anywhere in the world. The UN cites some guidelines to help interested participants, including some suggestions on digital identity systems to counteract fake ID’s being used to smuggle children out of the country unnoticed, as well as integrating AI to detect behavioural patterns and automate communications. To give you an idea what that means, read up on this story of how a flight attendant detected distress signs and managed to save a girl who turned out to be a human trafficking victim.

To know more about the competition, visit the UN’s dedicated page for the Blockchain for Humanity Global Challenge. The competition will be accepting entries until January 10, 2018.