This past February, The Knoble, with the support of identity authentication company Prove, spearheaded a major human trafficking initiative during this year’s Super Bowl in Los Angeles. The Knoble chose the Super Bowl as a catalyst to bring together law enforcement agencies and financial institutions to raise the bar against the plight of human trafficking and illustrate the art of the possible when private and public sectors work together effectively and share intelligence.
Founded in 2019, The Knoble is a nonprofit corporation seeking to protect vulnerable populations from modern slavery, human trafficking, fraud and scams, child exploitation, and elder abuse, which they collectively refer to as “human crime.” At its core, The Knoble is connecting experts in financial crime, fintech, and other professionals to combat exploitation and crimes against humanity more effectively.
The Knoble is the brainchild of founder Ian Mitchell, a long-time financial crime executive, who believes that meaningful, systemic change can only be effected through an integrated approach to spotting and impeding illicit money flows and human crime—one that unites industries across the public and private sectors. This cross-industry mission, a deliberate deviation from the historically siloed approach to tackling financial crime, has so far welcomed over 1,200 members, and over 200 organizations, into The Knoble Network.
Large global events can often spark an increase in illicit activity such as human trafficking, often due to the influx of out-of-town visitors. The Knoble recognized that aligning the private and public sectors and sharing targeted intelligence could substantially blunt these deplorable events.
The organization took a two-pronged collaborative approach toward its ambitious goal:
- First, the Knoble and partnering institutions developed red-flag detection scenarios. Participating financial institutions deployed these new scenarios into their existing anti-money laundering transaction monitoring platforms to spot suspicious transactions with common patterns linked to human trafficking. Upon investigation, financial institutions quickly filed suspicious activity reports (SARs) earmarked as human trafficking.
- In a targeted approach, law enforcement identified specific entities known to be involved in human trafficking in and around Los Angeles. The Knoble then facilitated intelligence sharing between law enforcement and financial institutions, after which those firms could scan their records for those specified parties and file corresponding SARs.
The initiative ran for a three-week period around and during the Super Bowl. Going forward, The Knoble hopes to scale up these types of efforts to other large events and cities as part of the more comprehensive strategy to awaken, equip, and deploy financial services to fight human crime.
Indeed, the work is far from over. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid digitalization that has accompanied it, financial and human crimes have soared in both volume and sophistication, with increasingly devastating effects. Vulnerable populations have been left even more susceptible. According to the United Nations, the pandemic has aggravated factors—like poverty, gender-based violence, and unemployment—that propel human trafficking, and victims have had less support and recourse to justice.
Women and girls continue to be disproportionately targeted. An increase in online time has increased vulnerability to trafficking, and traffickers have also begun to target children with more frequency. Meanwhile, the relative anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions is facilitating human trafficking, according to a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Financial services professionals are in a unique position to harness their expertise in protecting the vulnerable and bringing criminals to justice. The Knoble Network offers a remarkable opportunity to collaborate with and learn from experts across the cyber and fraud, law enforcement, tech, and regulatory industries, all bound by a common goal. The Knoble’s Member Center further facilitates collaboration, with discussion rooms and working groups geared toward sharing insights and information. Previously disparate approaches to fighting illicit money flows and human crime can now be strengthened into cohesive initiatives informed by multiple disciplines.
As the world seeks to defend the vulnerable populations around the world against human crime, financial crime fighters are encouraged to join The Knoble Network and contribute to the organization’s strategic mission: “awaken, equip, and deploy.” The organization continues to expand and launch new initiatives, with a focus on network collaboration, integrated data and technology, proven practices, and repeatable execution. For more information, visit https://www.theknoble.com/.