Using Frontier Technologies to Advance Palermo

27 April 2021
Research Innovation

Researchers Sophie Zinser and Dr Hannah Thinyane’s recent article in the Yale Journal of International Affairs examines the utility of frontier technologies — specifically expert systems and blockchain — to support successful prosecution and remediation of trafficking cases under the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children (the Palermo Protocol).

Expert systems, which use AI to support non-expert decision making, can be used in screening for cases of human trafficking, exemplified by the Apprise worker voice tool developed by Dr Thinyane at UNU-Macau. Systems such as eMin use blockchain’s distributed ledger systems for securing worker documentation, including contracts.

Frontier technologies enable the assembly of richer data on employment and labour, root causes and patterns of trafficking, and other knowledge gaps. Zinser and Thinyane offer a note of caution: while such technologies offer promise, they can also be breached and exploited by bad actors to continue exploitative behaviors. Ultimately, they suggest, however, that informed use of frontier technologies will be an essential tool to fight human trafficking.

Read the full article here.

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