Crack Down on Money-Laundering to End Human Trafficking

Crack Down on Money-Laundering to End Human Trafficking

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Hunter College High School started this petition to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. And while slavery is legal nowhere, it happens everywhere. In the United States alone, 14,500 to 17,500 foreign trafficking victims are trafficked across borders every year. Globally, there are over 40 million slaves today. 1 in every 200, a slave. Today, slavery often takes the form of forced prostitution, labor, and organ removal.

Since the anti-trafficking movement’s push in 2001, the U.S. has adopted its position as a world leader in the fight against human trafficking. With its annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP), the U.S. government provides a moral and policy standard for countries across the globe to follow. The TIP is often hailed as trafficking’s biggest setback.

Ever since its initiation in 2001, TIP has helped secure protection and prevention for millions of victims and would-be victims around the world and persecuted many traffickers. It encouraged the creation of prevention, protection, and persecution programs. In short, TIP was a great first step.

More has to be done. Despite all the progress made by TIP, trafficking still ranks as the third largest organized crime in the world.

Governing trafficking’s proliferation is money. At its core, trafficking is an extremely profitable industry whose business model thrives on the sale of human life. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), trafficking accumulates over $32 billion annually.

The real issue is that while many laws are passed that enable protection, prevention, and persecution programs, too few adequately address trafficking’s root problem: it’s lucrative.

To stop human trafficking, we need to specifically target the ways in which traffickers earn and transfer money: money-laundering.

As Mary Goudie of The Guardian writes, “Until the profits of this business are monitored and confiscated, no real progress can be made towards ending human trafficking. Ultimately, it's only by cutting off the money that we will stop it.”

H.R.2219 - End Banking for Human Traffickers does just this by targeting the financial lifeline of traffickers. If this bill passes in the Senate and becomes law, the government will review and improve the procedures that institutions like banks have to take to catch and report any money-laundering or transactions related to human trafficking, to make sure that they're thorough and effective. Within 180 days, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Financial Institutions Examination Council, and the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (OTFI) will begin working together to check that public and private financial institutions' requirements are effective at detecting and deterring transactions linked to the trafficking industry.

It also requires the government's own anti-trafficking agencies to report on their efforts to combat these kinds of transactions, with help from the OTFI. Within 270 days, the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking will submit a report to the House on the progress made by this bill, as well as suggestions for any further action, based on investigations and input from anti-trafficking organizations and victims of trafficking.

What’s more, it adds that the US won’t give or lend money to any foreign governments that aren’t doing enough to prevent and punish any transactions related to trafficking in their country. It strengthens the criteria of 22 USC 7106: “Minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” by adding that all other countries must either have or be taking steps to make a framework for investigating, prosecuting, convicting, and sentencing people who attempt or conduct such transactions. The US won’t provide any non-humanitarian or non-trade related money to countries that fail to meet these standards for preventing human trafficking.

Today is the age for fighting trafficking--the time for us to advance more legal action against traffickers. In the end, the more we push for laws aimed at cracking down on trafficking and its roots, the harder it will be for slavery to still exist.

Sign today to support America’s legal efforts to end human trafficking!



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