The Skinny:

  • Anti-Human Trafficking group creates new tool to review, catalogue technologies used to counter trafficking.
  • The group has identified hundreds of tools, including applications, sites and databases, that can be searched and cross-referenced.
  • The site’s homepage, Tech Against Human Trafficking, also offers users a way to visualize and overlay tool categories, including target users, target sectors, technology and trafficking type.

By Brian Monroe
bmonroe@acfcs.org
February 20, 2020

In June 2018, a coalition of global tech companies, civil society organizations, and international institutions jointly launched Tech Against Trafficking, a collaborative effort to support the eradication of human trafficking.

By tapping into their technical expertise, capacity for innovation, and global reach, the company members of Tech Against Trafficking stated at the time they believed that technology can and must play a major role in preventing and disrupting human trafficking and empowering survivors.

The group is working with anti-trafficking experts to identify and investigate opportunities to develop and scale promising technologies.

“We all want to leverage our resources and skills to help further the impact of the tools already out there,” says Eric Anderson, head of the Modern Slavery Programme at BT. “But to do that effectively, we first need to know how technology is currently being used, what’s working and what’s not, and where the gaps are.”

The group has embarked on an what they are calling ambitious project to understand and map the landscape of existing tech tools being used in the anti-trafficking sector.

Over 200 anti-trafficking tools were identified at the outset of the project, with the majority (approximately 69 percent) working to identify existing victims of human trafficking and address and manage the risk of child and forced labor in corporate supply chains.

The group has created an interactive map of tools to counter human trafficking, including connections among tool categories, target users, target sectors, technology and trafficking type.

The current iteration has more than 300 counter-trafficking tools and allows users to search using key phrases, including information, trafficking, platform, app and supply. To view an interactive map of anti-trafficking tools, click here."We all want to leverage our resources and skills to help further the impact of the tools already out there. But to do that effectively, we first need to know how technology is currently being used, what’s working and what’s not, and where the gaps are."

Eric Anderson, Modern Slavery Programme Lead and Senior Consultant, Human and Digital Rights at BTDesigner

And it’s that vital professionals across the financial crime spectrum – whether investigators, bank compliance officers, front line staff and others – have all the possible weapons they can at their disposal to fight a monstrous crime only growing in size.

In recent years, the number of individuals victimized by these crimes, such as human trafficking, migrant smuggling, forced labor and others, is rising at a dramatic pace, according to global watchdog groups.

Revenues for criminal groups engaged in human trafficking have more than quadrupled in less than a decade according to a 2018 report by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF). That was the last time the financial crime compliance standard-setter reviewed data in that arena and released guidance.   

The estimated proceeds human trafficking generates have jumped from $32 billion to more than $150 billion since FATF produced an-depth report on the laundering of the proceeds of these crimes in 2011.

At the same time, there is also a more senior understanding of how and where human trafficking is taking place, including trafficking routes tied to certain countries and overall regions, according to the FATF report, noting that such financial and geographic details can give additional color, context and nuance to simply viewing aberrant financial figures alone.  

But those billions of dollars can also create opportunities for interdiction to getting noticed by anti-money laundering (AML) analysts and, then, through suspicious activity reports (SARs), garner the attention of investigative agencies.

Monroe’s Musings: With so many different public and private groups working to better understand human trafficking typologies and ways to fight them, I thought this a great effort and resource to share with professionals in the compliance and investigations arenas.

Overall, the financial industry – when given adequate training tied to the human and transactional tells and red flags of human trafficking – is in a powerful position to combat this heinous crime.

On that issue across the financial sector, more banks, money services businesses and other operations subject to AML rules are more frequently identifying and reporting on such crimes in recent years.

Compliance and law enforcement efforts are also buttressed by private-sector and non-profit initiatives working to better knit these fighting forces together.

One new warrior into the fray is the Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Initiative (ATII).

The newly-formed non-profit is devoted to sharing knowledge on trafficking typologies, building counter-trafficking data sets and supporting victims, recently partnering with ACFCS to offer key tips to help professionals better uncover potential instances of trafficking when it intersects the crypto world. To read the full story, click here.   

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