The UN-Related International Organization for Migration (IOM) is launching a blockchain-based tool to aid it in its efforts to protect migrant workers in Hong Kong from exploitation. The launch was announced today by IOM’s partner in the venture, blockchain technology firm Diginex.
According to reports, roughly 390,000 migrants are employed as domestic workers across Hong Kong, and 98 percent of them are female. 56 percent of those workers have been exploited by recruitment agencies which have charged them illicit fees. The new tool is expected to reduce that exploitation:
The tool called IRIS-SAFER, which is an acronym for the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS)- Self-Assessment for Ethical Recruitment (SAFER), is initially being designed for use by representatives from the approximately 1,500 Hong Kong-based migrant domestic worker recruitment agencies as well as select associated agencies in worker-sending countries.
Hong Kong-headquartered Diginex suggested that the partnership with IOM is an important part of the company’s commitment to supporting its community. Diginex Government Solutions head Mark Blick noted that migrant domestic workers are among Hong Kong’s most vulnerable people:
“We are delighted to partner with the IOM on this impactful project. Using the UN’s IRIS standards as the benchmark for reputable agencies, we are confident that the tool can help to strike out these unethical practises. In Hong Kong, foreign domestic workers are some of the most economically vulnerable people in our society and pay approximately HK$700,000,000 each year in placement/recruitment fees.”
If the project is successful, IOM and Diginex expect to introduce the IRIS-SAFER tool in other jurisdictions around the world.