UN: Breaking the Financial Chains of Modern Slavery

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July 11 2017

Human trafficking is both illegal and big business. The International Labour Organization estimates that forced labour, one of the forms of exploitation into which humans are trafficked, generates US$150 billion a year in revenues, while the Global Slavery Index suggests there may be as many as 45.8 million people enslaved today. Yet, the funds generated by human trafficking are proceeds of crime. Handling those funds can constitute money laundering or, in certain cases where designated terrorist organisations are involved, terrorist financing. Financial institutions that handle funds generated by human trafficking and modern slavery, or that finance businesses that engage in these crimes, thus risk violating a range of existing laws and norms, especially in the area of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.