When money laundering is detected or suspected financial institutions file what is commonly called a SAR (suspicious activity report). The SAR is a report to FINCEN (financial crimes enforcement network) on the suspected activity. Currently, the SAR forms accept fraud, money laundering, and terrorist activity but do not allow financial institutions to mark accounts for suspected trafficking. Since I do not work in money laundering yet (hopefully this changes soon) I wasn’t aware this didn’t exist. I was actually reading an article written by Joann Alicea (access it here pg 73) which was published by FINCEN back in 2013. As far as I have been able to find, the SAR has not been updated yet. When a financial institution does a SAR on an account they suspect of trafficking, they must currently select other and type in the activity. Which can make it harder to categorize into groups and bundle for data since not everyone is going to write trafficking the same way. Trafficking, sex slavery, human trafficking, prostitution, forced labor, bonded labor – it can be written a lot of ways. Joann’s argument is to the point. If we as financial professionals have the ability to do more, we should. We should seize any opportunity to track, report, and prevent the financial gains and anonymous nature inside the modern trafficking industry.
Polaris puts the estimated number of slaves globally as 20.9 million. Out of the world’s 247 recognized nation/states 190 of them have populations less than 20.9 million (numbers pulled from Wikipedia).
There are more people living slavery than the population of:
Qatar- Jamaica- Albania- Sweden- Greece- Hong Kong- Israel
Kuwait- Bosnia- Lebanon- Croatia- Czech Republic- Netherlands
New Zealand- Ireland- Norway- Singapore- Denmark- Romania
Those are just a few. There are also more slaves in the world than the population of 48 of the states in the United States. Only Texas and California exceed populations of 20 million. It would be slightly larger than imprisoning everyone in New York or Florida. Big numbers.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jnr
Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center
1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733)
to report sex trafficking, forced labor, or to get help