Women and children fleeing war in Ukraine
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ID Verification Platform Protecting Ukrainian Refugees From Human Trafficking

UK-based digital customer onboarding platform Zenoo launched its free-to-use ID verification platform ‘Freedom ID Check’ to support agencies to safely connect accommodation hosts with Ukrainian refugees.

Zenoo’s goal is to protect Ukrainian refugees from trafficking gangs, using its ID verification platform. The financial services company supplies digital onboarding and protection from financial crime for businesses. The company also has a not-for-profit wing focused on a range of humanitarian issues.

Many individuals and organisations set up accommodation agency websites in response to the war in Ukraine. Zenoo recognised that a general lack of ID verification exposed many of these sites to exploitative hosts registering.

British newspaper The Observer revealed that police have warned the Home Office on a number of occasions that criminal networks target vulnerable refugees, especially children.

Stuart Watkins, CEO of Zenoo, also explained the need for the ID verification platform to step in. He said: “Times of mass migration as refugees flee war are prime territory for highly sophisticated criminal organisations to take advantage of vulnerable women and children.

“By verifying the identities of accommodation hosts we are reducing the risk of trafficking. On top of this, we know that millions of displaced refugees will move from one accommodation provider to another over the coming years, and this process of ID verification must continue in line with this.

“This is only the beginning of the journey. It is a joint effort and we are genuinely humbled to be working with some of the world’s leading fintech and regtech providers to offer a solution to make the movement of people safer for volunteers and displaced refugees.”

Supporting humanitarian missions

The onboarding platform has previously aimed to use its technology and supply chain to support individuals needing home help during the covid-19 pandemic and to deliver much-needed supplies to Ukrainian families during its ongoing conflict with Russia.

Freedom ID Check also uses the same technology that leading financial institutions use to comply with anti-money laundering requirements and that border control agencies use to verify individuals.

Ian Bearder
Ian Bearder, founder and CEO at Veedoo

Ian Bearder, a software developer behind a website to connect Ukrainian refugees displaced by the Russian invasion, Ukraine Shelter, discussed how the Freedom ID Check platform has supported it to safely operate.

Bearder said: “We launched Ukraine Shelter in the early days of the war to help friends and family find shelter in West Ukraine and Europe. We received an overwhelming amount of responses and support. However, as we grew, we quickly understood the need to verify hosts and provide additional safety and security measures.

“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. Zenoo is playing a vital role in this area.”

As Zenoo focuses on capturing user information, the other fintech partners provide identity verification solutions, enabling Freedom ID to conduct the necessary checks to prevent criminal activity. Zenoo’s primary division also boasts a number of high-profile clients including the likes of the London Stock Exchange, Experian, Transunion and NASA.

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