Following the money: Compendium of resources and step-by-step guide to financial investigations into trafficking in human beings

Manual and Guideline
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Executive Summary

Focus on financial investigations related to trafficking in human beings (THB) has seen an uptick in recent years with attention coming from different sectors of society including policy makers, law enforcement agencies and the financial services industry. This increased attention has yielded several positive outcomes, such as a rise in collaborative information sharing partnerships and enhanced reporting of suspicious financial activity, however results have been unevenly realized with inconsistent and fragmented implementation.

While many of the established investigatory frameworks aimed at eradicating THB through disrupting connected financial activity are built and deployed within disparate regions their applicability may be applicable across much broader context. This is the premise that the OSCE Office of Special Representative and Co-coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (OSR/CTHB) has adopted in commissioning and developing the two documents captured within this resource;

  • A compendium of relevant materials and resources relating to financial investigation of trafficking in human beings (THB) from across the globe and;
  • A step-by-step guide to building framework for financial investigations related to trafficking in human beings (THB).

The first of these two documents, Compendium of relevant materials and resources relating to financial investigation of trafficking in human beings (THB), reviews and synthesizes 23 leading publications and documents related to financial investigations and THB into one standalone resource. Documents captured within the compendium are grouped in three categories; Intergovernmental Organizations and Agencies; Independent National Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs); and Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the Private Sector. This grouping was designed to encourage critical comparison and contrasting of publications issued from sectors or organizations with similar mandates. Additionally, based on this critical contrasting, the Compendium puts forth recommendations to assist in enhancing the effectiveness of future publications based on the strengths identified within the individual documents reviewed.

The second of these two documents, Step-by-step guide to financial investigations related to trafficking in human beings (THB), serves to assist in the establishment of an investigatory framework specifically targeted at dismantling criminal enterprises engaged in THB. The Guide’s 11 steps are laid out within three categories — Foundational, Operational and Communal — each of which contribute to the collective goal of enhancing actionable intelligence such as that, which is captured within the Compendium, and converting it into successful investigatory outcomes. Furthermore, the guide also incorporates the concept of community on two fronts, first, the notion of fostering public/private partnership, and, second, conducting financial investigations in such a way as to avoid collateral damage including to victims and survivors of THB.

Cumulatively, the intent of the two documents captured within this resource is to leverage off of the strengths and successes of established but disparate anti-THB financial investigatory practices, developed across the OSCE’s participating States, to raise awareness of the strategic value of financial investigations and the resources available, and to help create a more harmonised approach that can contribute to mainstreaming of financial investigations across the OSCE region. Additionally, this resource also serves to contribute to the broader initiatives outlined within the Lichtenstein Initiative’s Blueprint for Mobilizing Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in realizing the end of Modern Slavery by 2030.