Last Tuesday, Europol and representatives from some of the world's leading financial institutions met in London on the initiative of the Thomson Reuters Foundation to discuss ways to collaborate in the fight against human trafficking.
Building upon the success of a similar working group established in 2012 in the United States, the roundtable assembled in London agreed to help banks develop 'red-flag' financial indicators to identify possible criminal activity which could then be brought to the attention of the police.
This initiative comes amid rising concerning about human trafficking growing into a thriving multi-billion pound criminal industry, run by organised crime groups who have developed highly sophisticated business models exploiting EU free movement rules.
Financial institutions to join the initiative include Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, UBS, Santander, Mastercard and Western Union.
"With the cost and scale of human trafficking on the rise in Europe, a broader alliance is needed to combat its many forms and effects. Europol is leading attempts to coordinate action in the law enforcement community and is delighted to play its part in this new initiative inspired by the Thomson Reuters Foundation," said Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol. "We applaud those financial institutions who have expressed their commitment to this project and stand ready to work closely with them and other partners in the future."