UN to Help Migrant Workers in Hong Kong with Blockchain

When we talk about blockchain technology, a majority of people first think about the cryptocurrency market and the large number of enterprise-level pilot projects led by major companies. However, the disruptive technology can even help migrant workers who are exploited in countries such as Hong Kong.

Chinese central bank digital currency

In collaboration with blockchain financial services company Diginex, the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched a blockchain platform that will prevent the exploitation of migrant workers inside Hong Kong. The news was made publicly available in a press release by Diginex on Monday. The company claims that the platform is designed to be adopted by around 1,500 migrant domestic worker recruitment agencies in Hong Kong.

Named the International Recruitment Integrity System Self-Assessment for Ethical Recruitment (IRIS-SAFER) the platform will allow a transparent view and safe environment for migrant workers in the currently riot-infested Asian country. With the help of the platform, work agencies will ensure that all data concerning the workers are transparent, safe, and immutable. As stated in the press release, the country contains around 390,000 migrant workers of which 98% are women. Moreover, 56% of these workers were illegally charged unneeded fees by some recruitment agencies.

Commenting on this issue, the IOM China chief of mission Giuseppe Crocceti stated: “Through use of IRIS-SAFER, agencies will first learn what are global ethical recruitment standards, then be able to demonstrate their progress and, ultimately, prove their commitment. With this project, we are drawing from IOM’s global work, through the IRIS initiative, and tailoring it to the specific experience of recruiting migrant domestic workers to Hong Kong.”

Following the test run in Hong Kong, the platform is planned to be established globally. Aside from the positive effects that blockchain technology brings to the financial sector, the disruptive and swiftly rising tech can also help with both the public sector and humanitarian work. During October this year, UNICEF launched a cryptocurrency donation fund which is aimed to help fund open source technology that would benefit children and young people from all around the world.

Given this wide variety of use cases, the cryptocurrency market and enterprise-level adoption only mark one part of blockchain use. In the future, we may see the technology being applied to even grander things due to its transparency and immutability, if globally adopted.


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