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Moldova, a decently-sized Eastern European country, is ready to make history with the launch of an innovative blockchain-based program to stop child trafficking.

As described in a Reuters report, Moldova aims to launch the pilot program in cooperation with ConsenSys, a Brooklyn-based software company launched in 2015 that recently won a UN competition called “Blockchain for Humanity” Global Challenge.

The main goal of the company is to help Moldova’s government create a secure and reliable digital identity system on a decentralized digital ledger. This blockchain-based system will link the identity of children who may be potential victims of child trafficking with other family members. The digital identity will be stored on the blockchain.

Hence, children who will exit the country will have their eyes and fingerprints scanned. Once this happens, the legal guardians will be notified via a phone alert, and they will then have to approve the border crossing. Every action and move will be securely recorded on the blockchain, and therefore, it can potentially be used by authorities to identify patterns which might ultimately lead to catching the traffickers.

A bit of insight on Moldova’s current situation

The whole development is nothing short of praiseworthy. However, the situation in Moldova is still very dire, as the country has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in Europe, mostly due to the high poverty and unemployment rates.

Just to put everything into perspective, according to the International Organization of Migration (IOM), over 40.000 children are left on their own or are either raised by other relatives as their parents are off to work abroad.

“A lot of children are staying just with their grandfathers or grandmas, spending (more) time in the streets.” head of Moldova’s anti-trafficking police unit Lilian Levandovschi declared for Reuters.

Human trafficking is so deeply embedded in the country that some anti-trafficking groups go as far as saying that this system won’t make any noticeable difference. “As long as we don’t have job opportunities … trafficking will still remain a problem for Moldova,” IOM representative Irina Arap declared.

Furthermore, according to Ecaterina Berejan, the head of Moldova’s anti-trafficking agency, only 20% of the total trafficking victims recorded in 2017 are represented by children.

Praiseworthy project set to fight child trafficking in Moldova

Be that as it may, Moldova is on its way to becoming the first country that uses blockchain-based technology to combat child trafficking. Sure, there are still many aspects that are not yet in place, and the system will have a difficult time before proving its efficiency.

In spite of all the negative and skeptical comments, it’s as Mihail Beregoi, state secretary for Moldova’s internal affairs ministry, said: “[…] Any effort (to) secure at least one child is already worth trying.”

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