Follow the money?: Does the international fight against money laundering provide a model for international anti-trafficking efforts?

In 2000, the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, together with the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children were opened for signature. In the same year (in fact, the two instruments came within a month of each other), the United States Congress enacted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act as part of a package of legislation that included efforts against domestic violence and child kidnapping. The international and U.S. domestic instruments offer multilateral and unilateral methodologies and frameworks for understanding and combating the modern traffic in human beings. Not least of these methodologies is the U.S State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. Eight years after the passage of these instruments, while information gathering, scholarly thoughts and writings, legislative enactments, and law enforcement task force formation and enforcement actions have increased internationally and domestically, there is little evidence of a decrease in the trafficking of human beings.In contrast, in 2003, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) issued its Forty Recommendations that form a baseline for the international prevention of and fight against money laundering by domestic banking and financial systems and institutions. The FATF subsequently (in 2003) issued a list of Non-Cooperating Territories and Countries, listing countries whose banking and financial laws and regulations did not accord with the Forty Recommendations. In 2007, the FATF issued its latest list of Non-Cooperating Territories and Countries. All the formerly non-compliant states and territories were now compliant or their compliance was in the process of being confirmed. The Article seeks to answer the question whether the standards and methodologies of the anti-money laundering regime can be adapted and successfully deployed in the fight against trafficking in human beings. In order to do so, among other things, the Article examines the similarities and differences in the two illicit international markets, such as nature of each market, international and domestic interests affected by the existence of and fight against the market, and theoretical and legal frameworks utilized to understand and combat them.
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