Following the Money: Connections Between Human Trafficking and Money Laundering

On World Day against Trafficking in Persons 2015, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on all countries "to fight money laundering and sign and ratify the UN Conventions against corruption and transnational organized crime, including the latter's human trafficking protocol."

In cooperation with the UNODC Global Programme against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML), the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section organized an expert meeting on the topic in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, which as well as helping to develop a deeper understanding of the topic through exploring useful investigative methods, was also designed to share best practices and expand inter-agency cooperation. Equally important was study of the most successful and high-profile cases, along with discussion of the problems of judicial practice in cases of money laundering and human trafficking.

Of the 20 participants in attendance were representatives from the Department of Financial Monitoring of the State Control Committee of the Republic of Belarus, the Hungarian Prosecution Service, the Macedonian Police Liaison Officer to SELEC, the State Financial Monitoring Service of the Ukraine, and the Financial Investigations Unit of the Republic of Moldova.

Participants primarily discussed strategies for conducting investigations into the financial infrastructure of human trafficking networks. These included looking at the modelling of financial flows, the collection and analysis of relevant data, finding weak points in the business, and the disruption of financial flows. To put their knowledge to the test, participants were challenged to solve model cases where they had to disrupt the financial activities of organized crime networks.

Also covered was the international framework on money laundering and human trafficking, how to estimate the outcomes of disrupting financial flows, and the importance of multi-disciplinary teams and international cooperation in investigations.

Since human trafficking is a business, it was recommended that investigations should always include a parallel and complementary financial investigation. Further UNODC work on the issue was also recommended.

For further information please contact:  

Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section,   htmss AT unodc DOT org