Diginex Develops Blockchain Tool To Protect Hong Kong Migrant Workers

Blockchain, News | December 18, 2019 By:

Blockchain firm Diginex has developed a blockchain tool designed to prevent the exploitation of migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong.

Diginex, a blockchain financial services and technology company, partners with institutional investors, corporations and governments to make digital assets more accessible, business processes more efficient and secure. Diginex believes its collaborative approach and pursuit of global cooperation is optimal to drive institutional adoption of blockchain technologies and the regulated use of digital assets.

The new blockchain tool called IRIS-SAFER, 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. According to the firm, there are almost 390,000 migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong, 90 percent of which are women and 56 percent of which were charged illegal fees by recruitment agencies.

“Agencies invited to use the tool – to assess their current level of adherence to global ethical recruitment principles as set forth by the IRIS Standard – will do so as a part of their participation in broader training on ethical recruitment,” Diginex said in a press release. “The use of blockchain technology – essentially a set of immutable, secure, data records – will strengthen data management and enforce data integrity, which allows for a higher level of transparency and visibility.”

For the initiative, Diginex is collaborating with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. As the United Nations Migration Agency, IOM works to ensure the orderly and human management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, and to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration challenges.

“We are delighted to partner with the IOM on this impactful project,” said Mark Blick, Head of Government Solutions at Diginex. “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. Being headquartered in Hong Kong, we believe it is vital to support the communities in which we operate, so this partnership and project is close to our hearts.”

Once the blockchain tool successfully passed its initial phase, Diginex and IOM plan to implement it to recruitment agencies in other jurisdictions globally.

Giuseppe Crocetti, Chief of Mission, IOM China, said that ethical recruitment practices are essential to improve protection of workers, employers and recruitment intermediaries.

“We are excited to have identified an opportunity by which IOM can support migrant worker recruitment agencies to differentiate themselves as good actors,” Crocetti said. “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 SAR, China to ensure that in future no migrant domestic worker is made vulnerable to exploitation due to unethical recruitment.”