AUSTRAC and business working together to stop forced sexual servitude
A new financial crime guide from AUSTRAC will help businesses identify and report suspicious activity related to forced sexual servitude. Forced sexual servitude is a form of slavery and represents around 30% of slavery cases in Australia.
Victims are forced to provide sexual services against their will, are unable to refuse violent or unsafe practices, and must hand over most – if not all – of their money to the perpetrators. It is a lucrative business for criminals, who make significant profits through this criminal activity.
Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said forced sexual servitude was an abhorrent crime that disproportionally affected women and girls, but that financial empowerment would go a long way to helping vulnerable people get help.
“The Government is serious about cracking down on sexual servitude and modern slavery. This financial crime guide will ensure banks, businesses, and other financial institutions are able to identify coercive behaviour, take action, and alert the appropriate authorities. Together, we can make sexual servitude a thing of the past.”
AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose said that businesses must play their part in identifying and reporting potential cases of forced sexual servitude to protect victims.
“Criminals involved in the forced sexual servitude trade are profiting from keeping people in terrible conditions that they cannot escape. It’s essential that we work together to recognise and stop this criminal activity, give voice to and protect victims.”
The guide draws on intelligence collected and analysed through the Fintel Alliance. It provides practical advice to businesses on what to look out for, and when they should report to AUSTRAC.
Some of the financial indicators of forced sexual servitude include receiving regular domestic transfers averaging $250 per service, payments for supplies such as lingerie and beauty products, regular payments for short-term accommodation, high volumes of rideshare or taxi services, and regular use food delivery services. Payment reference details included with transfers or purchases may also be an indicator.
Businesses should use a combination of the indicators in this new guide and their own transaction monitoring to identify suspected instances of forced sexual servitude, and report these to AUSTRAC by submitting a suspicious matter report.
Download the guide
Financial crime guide – Detecting and stopping forced sexual servitude in Australia
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