Intersections of Human Trafficking and the Financial Services Industry

My Human Trafficking Research Lab students and I had the opportunity to train Staley Credit Union employees at their biannual company-wide training day. We focused on the intersections of human trafficking and the financial services industry. We did an introduction to human trafficking, dispelled some of the myths on human trafficking, and talk about how it manifests in the cases we see in Central Illinois. Then we did my In Their Shoes Activity which turned out well and broke up the 1.5 hour training. 

The In Their Shoes Activity uses real stories of human trafficking survivors and takes participants along the trafficking journey. I have been using it to teach about human trafficking since I saw the domestic violence version of it in graduate school and adapted it to human trafficking to use as a teaching tool. This time we introduced a timer at the shelter station where participants had to wait for this card similar to the way survivors might have to wait for a bed in the shelter. We also had them roll the dice until they got a letter in their name at the rehabilitation card similar to waiting for rehabilitation services. At the end I give participants the real news story that I used to build the activity and we discuss the implications, different types of trafficking stories, and the trafficking flows. It worked out well for an a professional audience but I think I should try to include more local stories in the future.

Then at the end I discussed two different advisories on identifying and reporting human trafficking and related activity from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). I have never done a human trafficking training with the financial services industry so it was really interesting to teach about red flags and prevention techniques for this specific industry mostly related to money laundering of funds earned during exploitation. I have been studying human trafficking for over 15 years and it is always interesting to learn a new facet of the crime, see how the crime has evolved, and how prevention efforts have to adapt to these changes. The students were also thankful for the opportunity to share our knowledge and research with the community and speak in front of a large audience during  Human Trafficking Awareness Month!


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