You may feel overwhelmed by the growing number of potential human trafficking transactions you find. It’s gut-wrenching to think of the torture and abuse that sits behind these transactions. The good news is there are data scientists designing ways to detect these patterns without human intervention. Soon we will be empowered to find data that can free victims in minutes instead of years.
While we are waiting, you can make a difference in the lives of victims of human trafficking by reporting suspicious activity even if you think nothing will be done with the information. Each report sends a message to a survivor that they are seen and valued. SARs tied to trafficking went from 109 in 2018 to 3,384 in 2019 – U.S. Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and analytics by Dynamic Securities Analytics and banks accounted for 70% of these reports. Let’s keep it going!
Also, remember that victims of human trafficking are often rescued and then left to rebuild their lives on their own. Exploiters do not just rent out their victim’s body for personal gain, they use the victim’s identity to buy cars, purses, shoes, food, gas, and even houses. They also force victims to commit crimes, creating a criminal background that is not easily overcome when trying to obtain work. You can help by supporting organizations like Love Never Fails that are housing and empowering survivors with professional training that will assist them in obtaining sustainable careers in industries such as tech, health care, and finance.
'Clean slate' banking products
Lastly, consider creating “clean slate” banking products and services so that survivors of human trafficking can present details on their victimization and have a chance to open a bank account, purchase homes, and participate freely in society without shame. Providing this opportunity communicates to survivors that their victimization was not their fault and that they deserve a chance to live their best life!
Vanessa Russell is Founder and Executive Director of Love Never Fails, a non-profit dedicated to the restoration, education and protection of those involved or at risk of becoming involved in domestic human trafficking. Russell has developed children in the area of dance, teaching hundreds, ages 3-25, lyrical, flags, hip hop, and mime, since 2000. In 2010, one of her 15 year old dance students was sold into human trafficking. Although the student was eventually located and is now being restored, Russell encountered many others who, like her student, were U.S.-born women, men, and children trapped in modern day slavery. Her response was to launch Love Never Fails, which has educated thousands of children and community members on the issue of human trafficking, opened a home that provides long-term safe housing and restorative services for over 100 women survivors and their children and launched an IT Academy connecting under-served community members with financially sustainable careers.