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Trafficking in the News: Roundup
February 8, 2024

Hi friends! This week, we’re sharing a round-up of some recent news related to human and child trafficking, at home and around the globe. Here’s the latest:

Technology is supercharging organized crime in Asia

Transnational organized crime operators are quickly adopting technologies such as cryptocurrencies, online gaming & marketplaces, social media, and AI to create new opportunities to perpetrate crimes, especially money laundering, as well as drug and human trafficking. According to Jeremy Douglas, a senior official at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, organized crime groups are far ahead of many governments in the Asia region, particularly in less developed areas. He says they are witnessing “the supercharging of illicit economies within the Mekong subregion of Southeast Asia.” Bringing states in the region together to work in a coordinated way to address needs and capacity gaps is of extreme importance.

Source: UN News

**For more information on how banks might need to harness AI and other technologies to develop stronger protections against fraud, check out this article from CDO.


Council and EU Parliament agree to add forced marriage, illegal adoption, and surrogacy to types of exploitation covered by EU anti-trafficking law

In January, Council and European Parliament negotiators agreed to explicitly include surrogacy, forced marriage, and illegal adoption as types of exploitation under the scope of the definition of trafficking. These types of exploitation will be punishable by “a maximum penalty of at least five years of imprisonment, or of at least ten years of imprisonment in case of aggravated offenses.” This provisional agreement will be submitted to member states’ representatives for confirmation, and will have to be formally adopted by both institutions.

Source: Council of the EU Press Release


Council of Europe lawmakers are strengthening bans on forced labor in supply chains for products in the EU market

A recent proposal prohibits products made with forced labor from being placed on the EU market or exported from the EU to third countries. If there is evidence that a product has been made with forced labor, authorities are to start an investigation, which can include requests carrying out checks and inspections either in the EU or in third countries. If authorities find that forced labor was used, the product will be banned from the market and export. This negotiating mandate foresees the establishment of an EU network to ensure better coordination between the competent authorities and the Commission in regulating bans on goods made with forced labor. 

Source: Council of Europe Press Release


A bipartisan group of House lawmakers are working to help trafficking survivors

A bipartisan group of lawmakers recently introduced a bill to help trafficking survivors expunge their records of any criminal activities associated with their trafficking circumstance, as a direct result of being a victim. This effort helps eliminate barriers for victims trying to reintegrate into society, and is a key part of healing and recovery. Most states have similar laws on their books, but there is no federal statute offering this protection. Bill sponsors include Republican representatives Russell Fry of South Carolina and Ann Wagner of Missouri, and Democratic representatives Ted Lieu and Robert Garcia of California.

Source: CNN/MSN


Bipartisan bill is introduced in the Senate to strengthen child trafficking prevention

Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff (GA) and Republican Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) introduced a bill to strengthen coordination between federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to better prevent child trafficking. While federal agencies collaborate to prevent human trafficking in general, there are no mechanisms to collaborate specifically on child trafficking. The bill has been endorsed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). This bill follows on the heels of a bill that passed the Senate in December, in which Ossoff collaborated with Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn (TN) to strengthen the nation’s reporting system for children exploited online and give law enforcement more time to pursue investigations.

Sources: WALB News, Sen. Ossoff’s Office Jan 30 Press Release, Sen. Ossoff’s Office Dec. 15 Press Release 


Key takeaway from the latest news: there have been several positive moves made in both global and domestic arenas to strengthen legal frameworks and capacity to combat trafficking.

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