Harnessing Technology: UN Side Event To Explore Strategies For Eradicating Human Trafficking in Sports

United Nations

[Updated 28.09.2023]

The following press release was submitted on September 26, 2023.


NEW YORK, USA, September 27, 2023/ — Mission89, in collaboration with the Generation Amazing Foundation and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), will host a transformational side event during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) on tackling the critical issue of human trafficking in sports through innovative technological solutions and inspire the next generation to combat modern slavery and exploitation.

With the theme “Leveraging Technology to Combat Exploitation and Human Trafficking in Sport,” the event is scheduled for September 25, 2023, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, between 1400 – 1600 EST. It will bring together various stakeholders dedicated to eradicating human trafficking and promoting youth involvement in sports, including youth advocates, academics, football executives, and the UN’s permanent representatives from Qatar, Monaco and Gabon.

“Sport, a global language that transcends borders, has always been a source of joy and inspiration for countless young individuals worldwide,” emphasized Lerina Bright, founder and executive director of Mission89. “Unfortunately, it also serves as a troubling arena for human trafficking, particularly targeting young, aspiring athletes, with approximately 15,000 children falling victim to trafficking from West Africa to Europe each year. This issue is deeply disturbing and necessitates the utmost attention and concerted efforts from all stakeholders.”

The first session will shed light on sports trafficking and its implications for social inclusion in sports, the evolving landscape of women’s football, and the specific vulnerabilities female athletes face. The second session will explore how technology can be harnessed to combat this issue effectively. The third panel session will engage youth perspectives on these issues, drawing lessons from their experiences and knowledge.

“Through collaborative efforts, the Generation Amazing Foundation remains resolute in its commitment to harness the transformative potential of sports alongside esteemed partners like Mission 89,” stated Nasser Al-Khori, Executive Director of the Generation Amazing Foundation. “Together, we aim to drive lasting positive change and reach our shared objectives of addressing global youth-centric social issues.”

Jonathan Hargreaves, Global Head of Business Development at Elastos added, “In a decade of working with data and technology to combat trafficking, we see time and again that compromised identity is the vulnerability that traffickers use to build deception and focus their business models around. By using technology to prevent falsified identity, create transparency in the decision process and verification of authority figures these criminal enterprises are fundamentally undermined. The Elastos’ evolving Web3 systems allow players and families to secure their data, verify the provenance of agents and learn about the opportunities in a inspiration yet safe manner. In this way, blockchain is the key to prevention of trafficking at a systemic level.”

Keynote speakers at the event include Samuel Eto’o Fils, President of the Federation Of Cameroon Football Football (FECAFOOT), and H.E. Mrs Melrose Karminty, Minister of Social Welfare, Republic of Sierra Leone. Other distinguished speakers include Dr Roberto Branco Martins, Director General of the European Football Agents Association (EFAA); Lerina Bright, Founder & Executive Director of Mission89; Ambassador Michel Xavier Biang, Permanent Representative of Gabon to the United Nations; Alya bint Ahmed Al Thani, UN’s Permanent Representative of Qatar; and Ambassador Isabelle F. Picco, Permanent Representative of Monaco to the United Nations.

This forum aims to spotlight the issue of human trafficking in sports and empower young individuals to become advocates and change agents by leveraging technology. By providing a platform for youth engagement and participation, they can voice their concerns, share innovative tech-driven ideas, and contribute to developing effective strategies to combat this urgent issue.

The event’s alignment with the United Nations’ commitment to combat human trafficking and promote youth engagement underscores its significance. It harnesses the UN’s extensive experience in addressing human rights issues and complements ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the grave issue of human trafficking.


About Mission89

Mission 89 is a research, education, and advocacy organization headquartered in Geneva that fights the exploitation of young athletes through social and economic transformation. Its guiding principles include the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) both broadly and specifically which declares that members “shall take measures to combat the illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad”.

Through grassroots and digital campaign initiatives, the organisation raises awareness of the trafficking phenomena among youth across the world, consistently engaging both local and foreign partners and organisations in over 50 countries. Mission 89’s aim is to mitigate child trafficking in sports through research, education, and the implementation of mandatory regulations to keep sports training academies accountable for the safety and well-being of children in their care.

About Generation Amazing Foundation

The Generation Amazing Foundation (GA) is a human and social legacy-focused organisation that launched in 2010 during Qatar’s successful bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™.

GA operates its sport for development programmes in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Qatar’s National Vision 2030, to promote sustainability, inclusion, and gender equality. GA’s unique methodology utilises the power of football to impart crucial life skills including communication, leadership, teamwork and compassion to youth and communities in need across the globe. Since its launch, GA, in collaboration with key partners, has reached and positively impacted over 1 million lives in 75 countries and counting.

Learn more at www.generationamazing.qa. Follow us @GA4Good on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is the leading UN agency in the fight against organised crime, illicit drugs, terrorism and corruption. Its presence around the globe and expertise allows it to support countries in developing comprehensive and effective solutions against threats to development and to achieve the SDGs.

UNODC provides technical assistance, research and normative support to Member States to help them develop and implement comprehensive, evidence-based solutions to the complex and interconnected threats that they face at the national, regional and global levels.

Our efforts centre on protecting people and our planet from criminal exploitation through inclusive, sustainable, human rights-based approaches.
Headquartered in Vienna with a network of over 130 offices around the world, UNODC advances justice, health and security to build resilient societies and improve everyday life for individuals, families and communities around the globe.

About Elastos

Elastos is a Web3 ecosystem powered by a suite of open-source, decentralized technologies for identity, security, communication, data storage and commerce. It gives developers the hardware and software tools to build truly decentralized applications from games to social platforms, DeFi, and marketplaces.

As the only Web3 ecosystem with a blockchain dedicated to DIF and W3C compliant decentralized identifiers (DIDs), a unique secure dual-chain architecture, and a hybrid consensus, Elastos champions self-sovereignty. By providing unlimited control, security and interoperability, as well as grants and guidance for those who wish to build a truly decentralized web, Elastos is on a mission to help everyone forge their own digital destiny.
Find out more at: https://elastos.info/digital-destiny


Stay tuned for more details about how Elastos decentralized tech stack is helping make the world a better place. Read the press release here.

The article and graphics were created by the Elavation Team