Human Trafficking and Banking White Paper

Making an Impact in Human Trafficking and Banking

Human trafficking—a form of modern slavery—is one of the fastest growing criminal activities in the world. It exploits an estimated 45 million people a year1 and generates approximately $150 billion in profits. Though the concept of human slavery is certainly not new, some are unaware of the impact and extent of human trafficking in the 21st century, both at home and abroad. 

The good news is that the financial industry can play a part in disrupting this heinous crime. With proper education, knowledge of red flags and victim indicators, and by building strong relationships with law enforcement, the financial industry can help disrupt the problem of modern slavery….

What are the financial red flags for human trafficking?

There are hundreds of red flags that may indicate human trafficking, from victim indicators to transaction traits. Sometimes this requires thinking outside the box, beyond just the cash intensive businesses. Jimenez used business customers in the service industry as an example. “It goes back to know your customer,” he said. For example, in doing due diligence on how many employees a company has, AML staff would look at whether the business has a payroll account. “You’d be surprised how many massage parlors and nail salons that are being involved in sexual exploitation don’t have a payroll account, because nobody’s getting paid,” he said….



 The first step in being able to identify and disrupt human trafficking—from a financial institution’s perspective—is awareness



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Is your financial institution set up to join the fight against human trafficking?

Counter-human trafficking activities should also be built into an institution’s customer due diligence policies and procedures. Asking the right questions, knowing what to look for, and thinking holistically about known patterns and indicators of human trafficking all play a part in customer due diligence. Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering software automation can also be a significant factor in the ability to flag potentially suspicious transactions based on rules, behaviors and/or typologies related to human trafficking. Learn how BAM+, AML software, can help.