Today, as you read this, millions of people around the world are trapped in the harsh reality of human trafficking. From young children to adults of any age and gender, there are vulnerable people in your community, city, and country who are being exploited for the ill-gotten gains of traffickers, organized crime, and other manipulators.
At the age of 21, I became a victim of human trafficking. After escaping from my traffickers on my own, I spent 25 years trying to rebuild my life. Through my own experience, and since becoming an advocate for people impacted by human trafficking, it was very apparent that we need a collective of people and organizations working together to help stop this crime.
January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, a time of reflection and education, but more importantly, a time to take action. Over the course of this month, through my partnership with Verafin, we will be offering a series of resources and educational tools that will help financial institutions understand the behaviours and characteristics of human trafficking, to help you better understand and be able to act when you suspect human trafficking is occurring to customers at your institution.
There are many forms of human trafficking, some may be obvious, but much of the inhumane activity is hidden. However, financial institutions are in a unique position to help law enforcement and victims uncover this crime. During this month’s blog series, we will focus on three specific kinds of human trafficking – domestic sex trafficking, international sex trafficking and forced labor – which have specific financial indicators that bank investigators should be aware of and apply to their investigative efforts as they work to help vulnerable people in need.
Every victim is a potential survivor – some will escape on their own, but most will need help. I appreciate the time you have taken to read this message and welcome the next steps we will take together in the fight against human trafficking.
If you would like to learn more, please read and share this eBook we have developed as an educational tool for financial institutions: Human Trafficking: Know the Behavior, Uncover the Crime