Human trafficking prosecutions up 41% in US

By Christine Duhaime | July 2nd, 2018

According to a report released this week by the US Department of Justice, there were 41% more cases referred for criminal prosecution for human trafficking in 2015. In total, 1,923 johns and pimps were referred for prosecution, and of those, 1,049 were prosecuted and 93% convicted. The median prison sentence was 15 years.

The most common offences charged were debt servitude, slavery, forced sexual trafficking, production of child pornography and transportation for illegal sexual activity. The states with the highest incidents of human trafficking prosecutions are Florida, Texas and Missouri.

For money laundering detection purposes of pimps and johns, statistics show that while men predo-
minantly force young girls into sexual slavery, almost 12% of pimps and facilitators are women; and 56% are white, 24% are black and 17% are hispanic. More than 50% of defendants are uneducated and 49% have no prior criminal record, which goes to show they are good at avoiding detection. Unfortunately, 58% of the cases that are declined for prosecution are because the victims were afraid to participate in a prosecution.

Many teenage girls are trafficked through a social media website called, or johns locate them there. For example, this John attempted to hire a 15-year-old girl on that service and to force her into prostitution.

Anti-money laundering professionals are crucial to stopping the human trafficking cycle because they are the ones who have the access and intelligence to detect and stop financial transactions that fuel the activity. Trafficking is a cash intensive business and criminals involved in this activity must find ways to move, conceal and invest their proceeds of crime. Investigators typically flush them out by following their flow of cash through the financial system.

Like the U.S., Canada is a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking. Aboriginal women and girls are found in conditions of commercial sexual exploitation across the country. Foreign women and children, primarily from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, South Korea, the Philippines, Romania, Ukraine and Moldova are forced into prostitution. Canada is also a significant source country for child sex tourists, who leave Canada to holiday abroad to engage in illegal sex acts with little children. Human trafficking is not simply international, however, a young girl can be forced into prostitution in her own home town and still be trafficked.

Red flag indicators to detect the laundering of funds from human trafficking include using ATMs between 2am and 6am; frequent hotel stays; large deposits that are inconsistent with person’s employment or type of business; frequent use of wire services; and the purchase of luxury vehicles.

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