District Attorney Vance And Thomson Reuters Foundation Launch Financial
Working Group Against Human Trafficking
NEW YORK and LONDON, April 26, 2013
-- Financial Industry Joins in Effort to Fight Global Human Trafficking
NEW YORK and LONDON, April 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --The Manhattan District
Attorney's Office and the Thomson Reuters Foundation today hosted a high-level
roundtable with representatives from some of the world's leading financial
institutions, as well as law enforcement agencies and corporations, to discuss
ways to collaborate in the fight against global human trafficking. The
objective of this meeting, which was held at the Thomson Reuters Building in
Times Square, was to assist corporations in identifying irregularities in
financial transactions by potential traffickers, share financial and technical
expertise, and discuss cross-border solutions to combatting this crisis, which
victimizes countless individuals every year through forced labor, sexual
exploitation, and other forms of servitude. The parties have committed to
working together going forward to help solve the issue of human trafficking
and plan to meet again in July, when they will be joined by representatives of
some of the world's leading NGOs working with trafficking victims.
While estimates of human trafficking vary widely from state-to-state and even
country-to-country, there is consensus that this crime is on the rise. The
U.S. Department of State and International Labour Organisation estimate that
worldwide trafficking is a roughly $32 billion-a-year industry. Federal
statistics also suggest that between 14,000 and 17,500 foreign nationals are
trafficked into the U.S. each year, and tens of thousands of youth born in
America are at risk of sexual endangerment or exploitation.
"Trafficking at its heart is a crime motivated by money, and we have seen over
the course of our prosecutions that there is much to be made," said District
Attorney Vance. "Human traffickers prey upon some of the most vulnerable
members of our society, and their actions leave deep physical and
psychological scars upon victims, many of whom remain silent and hidden.
Financial institutions are in a unique position to spot red flags in banking
activity and report them to law enforcement. Efforts like today's roundtable,
coordinated by our partners at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, play a vital
role in bringing this crime out of the shadows, which helps us hold
traffickers criminally responsible."
Monique Villa, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation, said: "Human trafficking is
one of the most hideous and profitable crimes of our times. The commitments
taken today by the financial industry represent a huge step forward in using
innovation and shared knowledge to attack human trafficking. This meeting was
one of the biggest actions taken at the Trust Women Conference last December,
and I am glad that we are working together with the largest financial
organizations andManhattan District Attorney Vance to effectively tackle the
Martina Vandenberg, Founder and President of The Human Trafficking Pro Bono
Legal Center, said: "I don't see bankers as people with money, but as people
with data. We have never before bridged this idea of financial crime and human
trafficking. Bringing these two worlds together will increase the number of
trafficking prosecutions in the United States and around the world."
Marcy Forman, Managing Director of Global Investigations at Citigoup, said:
"It's critical to identify trends and patterns that might be indicative of
suspicious activities which might include human trafficking, and that we look
at data collectively to identify anomalies in transactions that might contain
elements of trafficking."
Representatives from the following corporations, law enforcement agencies, and
foundations participated in today's roundtable, organized by the Thomson
Reuters Foundation and the Manhattan District Attorney.
American ExpressBank of AmericaBarclaysCitigroupHuman Trafficking Pro Bono
Legal CenterJPMorgan ChaseTau Investment ManagementTD BankU.S. Immigration and
Customs EnforcementWells FargoWestern Union
Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office's Human Trafficking
Program, Major Economic Crimes Bureau, Financial Intelligence Unit, and Trial
and Investigation Divisions took part in today's event.
About the Manhattan District Attorney's Office's Human Trafficking Program
In March 2012, District Attorney Vance created the Human Trafficking Program
within the Office's Special Victims Bureau to investigate and prosecute sex
and labor trafficking cases, better identify trafficking victims, provide
greater support for victims and their families in partnership with those in
the victims' advocate community, and educate law enforcement and the public
about trafficking and related issues through community outreach, workshops,
and seminars. The Program also works to identify cases that may involve
elements of trafficking from hundreds of street arrests that come in through
other areas of the Office.
Earlier this month, a convicted human trafficker was sentenced to 50 years in
state prison for operating a sex trafficking ring out of his Upper East Side
apartment. On October 24, 2012, a jury in New York State Supreme Court found
Donnell Baines guilty ofRape in the First Degree, Sex Trafficking, and
Promoting Prostitution, among other charges, for using physical force and
threats of violence, in addition to other forms of coercion, to compel women
to continue to engage in prostitution.
District Attorney Vance strongly encourages victims of sex trafficking and
forced prostitution to call the Office's Human Trafficking Hotline at
+1-212-335-3400, regardless of immigration status.
About the Thomson Reuters Foundation
Established in 1983, the Thomson Reuters Foundation leverages the skills,
values and expertise of Thomson Reuters to run a number of programs that
trigger change and empower people across the world: free legal assistance,
media development, and in-depth coverage of the world's under-reported
stories. The Foundation stands for human rights, women's empowerment,
anti-corruption and for the rule of law.
Last December, the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the International Herald
Tribune hosted the first Trust Women Conference in London, bringing together
business, government and civil society leaders, sparking concrete commitments
to action to help women defend their rights. Today's roundtable represents one
of the key outcomes of the Trust Women Conference.
For more information, visit www.trust.org .
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Facebook New York County District Attorney | +1-212-335-9400
CONTACT: Manhattan DA's Office+1-212-335-9400Thomson Reuters
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