Monday, April 4, 2016
American Express, BofA, Citigroup, & JP Morgan Chase Adopt Policies to Deter Human Trafficking
$150 billion. According to the International Labour Organization, that’s the revenue generated by each year by forced labor for those who place more value on profit than people. From sex traffickers making a business out of prostitution, to international corporations relying on forced labor to keep costs down, every day an estimated 21 million men, women and children around the world are exploited in silence. That’s the equivalent of the amount of people living in New York, London and Paris together.
Of the many kinds of forced labor, sex trafficking grabs the most headlines. Yet, labor trafficking on both a local and international scale remains hidden in the shadows. The Polaris Project, which operates the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, has received more than 4,000 reports of labor trafficking in the United States since 2007.
Labor trafficking is more challenging to investigate and prosecute than sex trafficking. The sale of sexual services is illegal in the United States, therefore police and prosecutors have much stronger authority to investigate whether a sex worker has been trafficked. If so they have the power to go after and prosecute those responsible for the crime. But forced labor is much harder to detect, and as a result, law enforcement must often rely on referrals from third parties, such as non-governmental organizations or foreign consulates - rather than build cases from the ground up.
Thankfully, there are many non-profit organizations dedicated to identifying and helping victims of labor trafficking. What we need now is for private businesses to join in. . .
In 2014, our working group provided the financial services industry with guidance on identifying and reporting transactions that might be linked to human trafficking. Some of the world’s leading financial institutions adopted the group’s recommendations, including American Express, Bank of America, Citigroup, and JP Morgan Chase. . .