Research Report ‘Follow the Money’ Assists SA To Tackle Money Laundering

Johannesburg – A South African Anti-Money Laundering Integrated Task Force (SAMLIT) research report reveals how modern slavery and human trafficking (MSHT) globally generates billions of rand every year.

The SAMLIT report titled “Follow the Money”, released on 10 March 2023 shows that South Africa has the highest number of reported cases, when compared to other southern African countries.

The report, which was the brainchild of and chaired by Standard Chartered Bank in South Africa, focuses on financial flows and key indicators in the detection of financial transactions and behaviours related to MSHT in South Africa, thereby helping the banking sector to assist in combating this crime.

The research found that human trafficking generates an estimated US$150 billion worldwide per year, with a significant portion of these proceeds passing through legitimate financial services businesses. 

South Africa reports the highest number of cases, when compared to other southern African countries.

One of the conclusions reached in the report is that to address MSHT in South Africa, it is critical to improve understanding on the associated prevalent trafficking patterns and financial flows. 

Financial touchpoints include payments and the movement of proceeds associated with each component in the MSHT value chain. 

The value chain itself can include diverse aspects such as the transportation of victims and other logistics like hotels or flight tickets, the collection of monies generated by the exploitation of trafficked victims and by the sale of goods produced through their exploitation.

“Following the money to understanding these financial flows will assist in developing solutions to better support the prosecution of offenders, protect the vulnerable and provide support to victims of MSHT,” said Adv Xolisile Khanyile, Director of the Financial Intelligence Centre, and chairperson of SAMLIT.

“Proactive partnerships between governments, financial institutions, law enforcement, civil society and survivor experts are critical to identifying illicit financial activity associated with human trafficking.”

Che Sidanius, Global Head of Financial Crime and Industry Affairs, Refinitiv said: “Leveraging the best intelligence available to uncover criminal networks involved in modern day slavery is fundamental. 

“What is needed is to ensure that the public sector has the best tools and resources available to tackle this critical and transnational issue.”  

Please click HERE to view the full report.