Committed to the Cause: Working on the Frontline to End Human Trafficking

© UNODC

Financial Intelligence

Carmen*,
Financial Intelligence Analyst, Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), Canada

As a Financial Intelligence Analyst, I assist in the detection, prevention, and deterrence of money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.

I joined FINTRAC five years ago, and I analyse financial transaction reports and create financial intelligence products, which we share with law enforcement agencies.

Some of the cases I am dealing with can be linked to individuals or entities suspected of laundering funds derived from human trafficking in the sex trade.

I have the luxury of not just feeling like my, and all the other analysts’, work is successful, I know it is. Real victims are being rescued from sex trafficking operations partially due to FINTRAC’s contributions.

One example is a recent investigation, based on which now seven people are facing charges for running a human trafficking operation.

The greatest sense of pride I get is when FINTRAC is recognized by our law enforcement partners for its contribution in an investigation.

Trafficking victims suffer immeasurable trauma. Relying solely on their testimonies in a human trafficking case can lead to re-traumatization. But financial intelligence can often support victims’ testimonies and lower the risk of further trauma.

FINTRAC actively contributes to the Government of Canada’s efforts under the new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking. FINTRAC plays a unique role by leveraging its partnerships within the public and private sectors to proactively target individuals or entities suspected to be involved in the laundering of funds from sexual exploitation.

We also established a unique project, called Project Protect, where we engage with financial institutions and law enforcement to target human trafficking in the sex trade. I’ve been part of Project Protect since its inception and two years ago I was appointed Lead Intelligence Analyst.

Through Project Protect we managed to build a strong channel of communication from the private to the public sphere, creating a process that has resulted in proactive investigations based on information from the private sector.

As FINTRAC has grown, its value in providing financial intelligence has increasingly been recognized by its partners.

As an analyst, the greatest challenge is managing workload to sustain productivity while also generating high quality analytical products.

Through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), FINTRAC has received a platform to present on the merit of Public-Private Partnerships, as well as the vital role financial intelligence can play in addressing a wide range of criminality through its incorporation into other investigative methods.

During COVID-19 we were able to provide support to our partners in law enforcement through actionable financial intelligence by applying appropriate social distancing, telework policies, and personal protective equipment.

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* Not her real name

Further information

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons - campaign website