Banks Still Struggling to Spot the Signs of Human Trafficking

Banks Still Struggling to Spot the Signs of Human Trafficking

Financial institutions are struggling to spot the tell-tale signs of human trafficking due to resource constraints and the nature of the anti-money laundering (AML) compliance environment, according to experts.

Today marks National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the US. Also known as “modern slavery,” it refers to a range of heinous crimes, including forced begging, debt bondage, domestic servitude and sex trafficking.

The most recent stats from the International Labour Organization (ILO) claim over 40 million people around the world are currently trapped in modern slavery. According to the UN, the share of children among these victims has tripled over the past 15 years, while the share of boys has increased five-fold.

Banks should play an important part in the fight to detect such activities by spotting suspect money flows, according to Nicola Eschenburg, FinCrime Testing Service venture lead at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence.

“Virtually all crime is conducted for profit, and that profit can’t be recognized if the money can’t be laundered and spent,” she told Infosecurity.

However, the nuances of human trafficking activity can often be missed by compliance staff, as they can appear innocent to the untrained eye.

“For example: a young woman staying in

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