Combating Financial Crime and Human Trafficking
In October 2019, Essex Police discovered the bodies of 39 people in an abandoned lorry container. The 31 men and eight women were thought to have been smuggled into the UK. They were Vietnamese nationals hoping to start a new life in a different country.
The deaths served as a stark reminder of similar tragedies over the years, such as the 58 Chinese who perished in 2000 while being illegally transported across the English Channel. They had each handed over thousands of pounds to make the journey.
It is a type of “modern slavery”. Although it has been more than 200 years since Britain abolished the slave trade, an example followed by most of the rest of the world, various forms of slavery still exist, hidden from sight. Modern slavery takes many forms, including the traditional definition of slavery where ownership is exercised over a person, as well as human trafficking, forced labour and restrictions on freedom.
In this article, Andrew Pimlott looks at the current efforts that are being made to tackle this violation of human rights and offence to the very foundation of our society. He looks at what is being done internationally and then focusses on the UK efforts, currently at the global forefront of fighting human trafficking and discusses how financial systems and their compliance teams must lead this initiative by ensuring they are not facilitating the financial crime of money laundering.