Dhaka, Bangladesh 16 June 2023 – The global trade in human trafficking has been estimated to be worth billions of dollars. In order for criminals to profit from their illicit activities, this money must be ‘laundered’ to make it appear legitimate and avoid detection by law enforcement. Consequently, money laundering is closely intertwined with human trafficking, necessitating a robust and coordinated response.
To advocate for a holistic ‘twin-track’ approach in addressing money laundering, trafficking in persons (TIP), and smuggling of migrants (SOM), UNODC, under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants-Bangladesh (GLO.ACT-Bangladesh), organized a multistakeholder workshop on money laundering aspects in the context of TIP and SOM from 15 to 18 May 2023.
The workshop commenced with introductions and an overview of the GLO.ACT-Bangladesh project. The initial two days of the workshop were dedicated to establishing a solid theoretical foundation on the definition, indicators, and typologies of trafficking in persons (TIP), smuggling of migrants (SOM), and money laundering. The final two days featured sessions focused on technical components, including victim care, international inquiries, and the role and initiatives of BFIU (Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit) in combating money laundering in the context of TIP.
All four days of the workshop concluded with group exercises and a debriefing session, allowing participants to apply their knowledge to real-life scenarios and providing an opportunity to address any queries they may have had. These exercises also assisted stakeholders in evaluating their approach to various situations related to TIP, SOM, and money laundering, facilitating coordination and the identification of strategies and best practices.
During the workshop, participants identified several key issues in addressing the money laundering aspects of human trafficking, particularly in relation to victim identification, rescue operations, evidence collection, and building cases that incorporate both TIP and money laundering elements. Some of the key observations made by the participants were as follows:
- Facilitating regular capacity building training on cross-thematic issues, such as anti-money laundering aspects of TIP;
- Building a network of stakeholders to better address the money laundering cases related to TIP;
- Promote joint efforts between the BFIU and the Bangladesh Police to prevent TIP through counter-money laundering initiatives.
Looking ahead, UNODC plans to organize similar workshops in Bangladesh, drawing on the findings of the pilot initiative. Furthermore, UNODC aims to assess the possibility of institutionalizing a module on the interlinkages between money laundering and TIP within the existing capacity-building mechanisms for relevant stakeholder.
21 participants (3 female, 18 male) from Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, prosecutors from the Anti-Human Trafficking Tribunals, Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) and Bangladesh Police attended the four-day long workshop.
The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants – Bangladesh (GLO.ACT – Bangladesh) is a joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). GLO.ACT-Bangladesh builds on a global community of practice set in motion in GLO.ACT 2015-2019 in 13 partner countries across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
Through targeted, innovative and demand-driven interventions, the GLO.ACT aims to support the Government of Bangladesh and civil society organizations to more effectively fight the crimes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling across the country. The project works on developing evidence-based information on trafficking and smuggling patterns and trends, legislative review and harmonization, capability development of criminal justice actors, and international cooperation. The project also provides direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and migrants in vulnerable situations through the strengthening of identification, referral, and protection mechanisms. The project is fully committed to mainstreaming Human Rights and Gender Equality considerations across all of its activities.
The project is funded by the European Union.
For more information, please contact:
Mahdy Hassan, National Programme Coordinator