30% of financial services employees polled do not believe modern slavery is something which happens in the UK. Worse, 45% of board/director level employees believe the same. I’m not sure that I’m in either group, I knew that Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking (MSHT) took place here.
However, I had not stopped to think about all of the connections to the fraud and financial crime which I’ve spent many years of my life trying to tackle. The very best estimates suggest that there are more than 130,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK today and maybe many more. Globally, it’s estimated that on any day 40 million people are trapped. What does modern slavery look like? Fear and desperation are what keep people enslaved in the modern world. That might be though some sort of debt bondage, fear of deportation or threats to family.
What can we do about it? Education is key. As with so much criminal activity, it is only worth committing if you can syphon off the proceeds. So we all need to aware of the warning signs of MSHT and know how to report suspicions. Likewise, we need to continue to be vigilant to identify financial crime of all types. Specifically, MSHT is a predicate or contributory crime to money laundering. (For more on this: read our blog here)
We should never trivialize the complexity of the battle against money laundering, but understanding the connections is a first step, and it seems that investors and clients are increasingly putting pressure on their banks and other financial organisations to do more. If you are interested in learning more details, I’d highly recommend this report put together by Themis.
I started learning about MSHT due to the Tribe Freedom Foundation and an amazing decision by Darren Innes at Nasdaq. Darren put a team together to run across Scotland to raise money for Tribe and suggested Ripjar do the same. Later this week our adventure begins. Alina Akindele, Anthony Birley, Conor Hickey, Dean Jones, Nick Wright, Sharon Turner, Tom Garnett and I will meander our way from Helensburgh to Dunbar running throughout the night and covering 218 KM (136 miles) with total 2,400m of vertical ascent. The forecast looks ok. The strong insect repellent is packed. The head-torches are charged. And any training we’ve not yet done is now just wishful thinking.
Thank you to everyone who has sponsored us so far. If you haven’t and you would like to contribute to a truly worthy cause, you can do so quickly and easily on our fundraising page below – for the overall team or a specific runner.
Chief Product Officer, Ripjar