By Brian Monroe
February 10, 2021
While many sports fans were preparing for an anticipated epic duel in Super Bowl LV between an aging legendary gunslinger and a young gun with a cannon for an arm, by grilling dogs and burgers, human trafficking groups were cooking up much more sinister machinations: profiting off of skin and misery.
Even with the restraint required by the global pandemic, sporting events – particularly mega events like the Super Bowl, which draw thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues to host cities – are magnets for human trafficking networks, looking to take advantage of the influx of humanity, according to analysts and media reports.
“In recent years, the increased visitors in host cities tend to encourage the criminal activities of human trafficking and sex trafficking,” according to the report. “It is often found that criminally organized sex rings will travel from one location to another to meet the demand of large sporting events.”
As well, according to the Institute for Sport and Social Justice, these “types of large sporting events can lead to a culture of partying, drinking, and, too often, engaging in paid sex activities,” according to the report.
In a 2014 ILO report, human trafficking earns a profit of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers with 66% of the global profits coming from sexual exploitation, according to the report, adding that sex and labor trafficking is “second only to drug trafficking as the world’s largest criminal industry.”
But those massive financial flows mean more opportunities for savvy anti-money laundering (AML) compliance teams to uncover ties to trafficking networks – whether during the mayhem and maelstrom of a Super Bowl in Tampa between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs, or when these illicit groups move on and try to set up shop in your city.
Below are some helpful indicators and resources to assist banks in their efforts to detect behavior that could indicate a human-trafficking situation, including key tactics and insight from speakers and top thought leaders from recent ACFCS conferences.
To visit the ACFCS resource page, click here.
One key tactic to uncover potential ties to trafficking groups in your institution is looking for accounts without standard sources of income and for credit cards, frequent cancellations, according to David Creamer, Director of AML Solutions Delivery at Scotiabank and Rosie McWhorter, an AML Senior Investigator II in the Special Investigations Unit at Capital One, two frequent speakers at recent ACFCS conferences.