British Royal, American ambassador Say Tech, Blockchain can help combat human trafficking

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Princess Eugenie of the United Kingdom and the anti-trafficking ambassador of the United States, ambassador John Richmond, recently spoke for the use of new technology such as telephone apps and blockchain to tackle human trafficking, Reuters reports on 8 April.

At a conference in Vienna, Austria, organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), experts noted that increasing internet use has increased the ability of traffickers to exploit potential goals.

However, Princess Eugenie – Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter – noted that technology can also help combat human trafficking. Eugenie, who founded the Anti-Slavery Collective in Great Britain in 2017, said:

"I have learned how blockchain has a huge impact on supply chain management and how an app in Great Britain can help the public to report modern slavery at car washes."

Eugenie referred to an initiative by Coca Cola and the US Department of State and the Safe Car Wash app. The first started in March 2018 and aims to use blockchain technology to create a secure worker's register. The partnership aims to address the problem of forced labor by using blockchain validation and digital notarial capabilities to create a safe register for employees and their contracts.

The Safe Car Wash app recently found nearly 1,000 cases of slave labor at car washes in the UK. The app was launched in June by the Church of England and the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Users can enter their location and enter various indicators of the presence of slave labor, such as whether the establishment only accepts money, or employees seem anxious.

Referring to the worldwide slavery index of the Walk Free Foundation human rights group, Reuters reports that there are 136,000 slave workers in the UK, which is ten times as high as in 2013.

Anti-Human Trafficking Ambassador Richmond noted that technology itself cannot stop human trafficking and says, "There is no algorithm or app that will stop human trafficking." However, Richmond noted:

"But there are technical tools that can help people do their job better. This is the slow, tiring day-in-day work that can make a difference."

Earlier this year, the US House of Representatives approved a bill that would form a committee to study how cryptocurrencies and online market places can be used to facilitate sex and drug trafficking.

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Don Bradman

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