Human Trafficking: The enemy always wins. And we still need to fight them.

In 2018, the Financial Action Task Force referenced a report[1] that estimated 25 million people were victims of forced labor and sexual exploitation around the globe at any moment in time. Proceeds from human trafficking are estimated to exceed over $150 billion USD annually. Trafficking is sometimes misunderstood to be a self-contained issue, though the proceeds from slavery, kidnapping, forced labor, and forced prostitution are often aligned with terrorism finance and global narcotics trafficking.

That money has to go somewhere and is a significant component of the estimated $2 trillion USD of annual global money laundering flows. As an anti-financial crimes industry, we spend an estimated $1-2 billion USD each year to fight these illicit capital flows. Those numbers all feed into a staggering efficacy figure:

Anti-money laundering efforts result in, conservatively, less than five percent of illicit money flows being blocked, caught, seized, or confiscated.[2]

It’s clear that the outcomes of attempting to remove the financial incentives of human trafficking leave much to be desired. Further, reducing human trafficking to mere statistics fails to account for the real human costs: the faces and families behind the human trafficking numbers. The numbers don’t paint a pretty picture, but the fight is still worth the effort if we can collectively reduce the number of Faces of the Missing.

So we fight anyway… Bittrex is proud to be part of the Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Initiative (ATII). We are not a law enforcement agency, and we cannot be on every corner looking to catch traffickers. However, we can utilize our tools to share, use, and act on data that, in accordance with ATII’s mission, disrupt the operations, economics, and anonymity of Human Trafficking at the source. Bittrex’s strong commitment to preventing, detecting, and reporting the illicit use of virtual and fiat currencies will be further enabled by our ATII partners’ cooperation and proactive efforts to impede illicit financial flows. We look forward to working with ATII on proactively diminishing the prevalence of human trafficking, and ultimately furthering the positive influence virtual currency can have on the world.

 

Mike Carter

Chief Compliance Officer

Bittrex, Inc.

 

[1] https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/content/images/Human-Trafficking-2018.pdf

[2] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/25741292.2020.1725366

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