Illegal Fishing represents one of the largest markets open to and exploited by organised criminal groups, but beyond overfishing and the environmental challenges this brings, other serious crimes are also involved, including drugs and human trafficking, corruption and tax evasion, particularly effecting developing Countries. its time Illegal fishing was considered as a major financial crime issue as well as an environmental one. For more read the Intelligence Briefing on IUU Fishing by FCN.
With fish and other aquatic animals an important part of many peoples diet, it’s estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, that we catch approximately 171 million metric tons (likely more than 2 trillion fish) annually (2016) worth an estimated USD362 billion.
After an impressive year for FATF, under the US Presidency, which signed off last month, and concluded with the Florida Plenary, the Chinese Presidency now has the lead and has already signalled both an intention to continue with important existing FATF priorities, but are also signalling the next year will include something different, by including the illegal wildlife trade as an additional new priority.
The FATF announcement is significant, bearing in mind the importance China plays in the illegal wildlife trade as a major destination country for all manner of endangered animals, but this is not just about China, which had taken significant action over the last few years, including banning ivory, but about the entire FATF membership and all Countries subject to implementing FATF standards.
The staggering estimates that 40 million people are trapped in modern slavery and that forced labor generates $150 billion dollars a year in illicit funds have raised global alarm. It comes as no surprise to those combatting financial crime that thefinancial community intersects with these forms of exploitation in a variety of ways, from unwittingly laundering funds generated by these practices to investment in businesses that have labor trafficking embedded in their supply chains.
The Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, known as the Liechtenstein Initiative, is working to put the financial sector at the heart of efforts to identify, target and disrupt these crimes and their root causes.
Building on the success of AHT toolkits designed to be used by Banks & other financial institutions, via multi stakeholder working groups established and co ordinated by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the US and European toolkits are now being supplemented with an Asian toolkit which was launched on 12th February, 2019. The continued growth of human trafficking operations and the potential abuse of the financial system associated with this criminal activity, requires vigilance and action. The toolkits are therefore crucial resources and include a set of “red flag” indicators, tailored specifically for FI’s, together with case studies and resources that will help the detection, and reporting of suspicious activity. The Asian toolkit’s were put together by the Asian Bank’s Alliance, which is made up of ABN AMRO, American Express, ANZ, Citi, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, HSBC, Macquarie, Standard Chartered, along with The Mekong Club and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. Continue reading