A new awareness of the scourge of human trafficking has motivated some in the business community. I recently read about efforts to train flight attendants to look for signs that a person is being trafficked and under the control of a pimp that is flying them to a destination in or out of the U.S. Several young people were rescued because of the diligence of airline personnel.
|Stuart Davis meets Pope Francis|
“Many folks tend to think of banks as just focused on profits but what they fail to realize is that many banks are also focused on doing good in the communities that they serve. One of the ways that they do this is stopping financial crime. Helping banks stop financial crime (also known as anti-money laundering) has been my career largely since the events of 9-11. But since 2016, my career in banking has taken an unexpected but very meaningful direction, a focus on anti-human trafficking. A survivor of human trafficking spoke at a conference my team attended and asked who is willing to stand with me and help? We did, launching Project Protect among the Canadian banks to disrupt the illicit flows from this heinous crime.
Human trafficking and the profits generated is believed to be the 3rd largest crime in the world. Studies have suggested that there are over 40 million people trafficked per year and it is often happening right here in our communities. However, it is often a hidden crime that includes labor trafficking, sex trafficking, and the sexual exploitation of children.
Through the collective efforts of many involved, some impact is being made but much more can be done. Our early efforts and successes in Canada have drawn international attention. We have been aligning with those with common goals and purposes globally. As a result, I have had the honor and privilege to be invited to speak recently at the United Nations on our bank’s initiative to help survivors of human trafficking. And very soon I will be discussing efforts to protect child dignity and fight child exploitation at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences hosted by His Holiness Pope Francis.
I would have never thought that my career in banking would have a higher purpose and tap deeply into something we can all be passionate about. Making this world a better place and helping those being victimized recover their lives. If you are not already involved in helping, please consider how you might do so this Thanksgiving season.”
It will take all our efforts, no matter how big or small, to rescue people caught up in modern slavery.