ID verification platform, ‘Freedom ID Check’ created by Zenoo is supporting the humanitarian effort in Ukraine to protect against people trafficking amid its devastating war against Russia.
Matching vulnerable Ukrainian refugees with suitable accommodation providers, Zenoo has added another arm on top of supplying financial services and secure onboarding for businesses against fraud with identity verification to support these unique war-time circumstances and services.
While the conflict has shown the most willing side of communities to help Ukrainian people, websites popping up all over the internet offering temporary accommodation and even taking foreign bookings from across Europe to send money to Ukraine are often unsecured and have no verification security wall.
The lack of identity verification exposes these sites to falsified registrations and breaches of sensitive data that could led to victims being exploited for human trafficking.
The security downfalls enable networks of human traffickers to obtain information to track the migration of refugees, especially women and children, to safe places, which Zenoo’s CEO, Stuart Watkins reassured they were fighting hard against by “verifying the identities of accommodation hosts”.
The founder of Ukraine Shelter, Ian Bearder – another organisation sourcing suitable accommodation for refugees with the Freedom ID Check platform – said: “Freedom ID Check integrates seamlessly with our sign-up process, so we didn’t need to reinvent the wheel and our hosts are able to verify their ID and address details quickly and painlessly.
“We all have a responsibility to make hosting and our relief efforts as safe as possible and Zenoo are playing a vital role in this area.”
As of September 2022, official statistics of levels of refugees stood at 7.5 million living in countries across Europe, of which nearly 90% were women and children, which financial aid being sent by UN allies.
The scheme Homes for Ukraine encountered concerning safeguarding problems which forced more than one in 10 local authorities to make reports to the Home Office and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) about at least one person listed as a matched sponsor.
Such concerns led to government guidance on the Homes for Ukraine scheme being revised in late May to make it a requirement for adults hosting a refugee family with children to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
Before the integration of Zeeno’s ‘Freedom ID Check’, a centralised, secure matching system was missing.
Furthermore, Patricia Durr, Chief Executive of Children’s protection organisation, Ecpat UK commented that it is simply too easy for “anyone in the UK or elsewhere to set up a matching site and be responsible for identifying hosts for refugees to pair with”.
She added: “The hands-off approach to checks and matching increases the risk that traffickers and other criminals will set up matching sites and pages to prey on those in need.”