Banks fight trafficking: Tracking the financial "footprints" of traffickers

Freedomunited.org recently reported that "...banks are well-placed to be the “unexpected heroes” in the fight against human trafficking as they develop new technology to flag suspicious accounts and coordinate with law enforcement."

Sharing a 7/17/18 article from Fortune.com, Freedom United reports that traffickers ",,,rake in an estimated $150 billion in illegal profits. Their money has to go somewhere, and often it ends up in banks and financial institutions around the world." 

"By using banks, traffickers leave behind a slew of financial footprints. For example, traffickers may use so-called “funnel” accounts to transfer large sums of money quickly. In this scenario, money is deposited in an account and then quickly withdrawn from another location. Other red flags include credit card transactions late at night or very early in the morning, purchases on certain classified ad sites, and use of anonymous payment methods rather than personal checks.

Banks can program their systems to automatically flag such behavior. And if human reviewers ultimately confirm the patterns are suspicious, banks can alert law enforcement. Once specially trained investigators and police officers are armed with the financial clues, they can follow the money trail. And prosecutors can help build their cases with the available financial data."  (Read the full article here.)


Fighting trafficking can feel like an insurmountable challenge.  Yet, if anti-trafficking efforts like this are instituted in more sectors of society, I firmly believe this horrendous practice can be brought under control and even -- (dare I say it?) -- eradicated.

As it was in the days of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, it must be done.
SAH

Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit http://www.hope4justice.org/the-facts/


ON THE READING LIST

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.

What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.

In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.

This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.   (Information from Mirror Ministries website.)

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TAKE ACTION

Are you traveling and staying in hotels this summer?  Ericka B.  contacted Hope4Justice this past week to remind us about using the "Traffick Cam" to help fight trafficking.  According totraffickcam.com, "TraffickCamenables you to help combat sex trafficking by uploading photos of the hotel rooms you stay in when you travel.

Traffickers regularly post photographs of their victims posed in hotel rooms. These photographs are evidence that can be used to find and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes. In order to use these photos, however, investigators must be able to determine where the photos were taken.

The purpose of TraffickCam is to create a database of hotel room images that an investigator can efficiently search, in order to find other images that were taken in the same location as an image that is part of an investigation."

Thanks for sharing this information, Erika! 

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The next public meeting of Hope4Justice will be in the fall of 2018.  The specific date and information about meeting content will be included in this weekly email as far in advance as possible.