The principality of Liechtenstein — a global capital for wealth management — has launched a new initiative to mobilize the global financial sector against modern slavery.
Announced on Monday at the United Nations, the ‘Liechtenstein initiative’ aims to fight money laundering by traffickers, promote ethical investment, and offer opportunities to people vulnerable to slavery.
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Globally, modern slavery is estimated to generate illegal profits of $150 billion USD according to the ILO. Much of that money ends up in banks, hedge funds, and other investments.
“Following the money can not only lead us to the perpetrators but also deny them the resources they need to commit such crimes in the first place,” said Aurelia Frick, Liechtenstein’s foreign affairs minister.
Thomson Reuters Foundation reports:
Traffickers illegally launder illicit gains, take advantage of informal banking systems and benefit when investors unknowingly back companies that profit from slavery in their supply chains, organizers said.
Meanwhile, a lack of access to credit can make people vulnerable to forced labor and trafficking, they said.
Plans call for commission members – institutional investors, global pension funds, investment banks, financial regulators and others – to design an anti-slavery strategy by mid-2019 for the financial sector.
“This commission will make a major contribution to undermining the primary goal of the human traffickers and those who would enslave another human being – the money they make out of human misery,” said Marise Payne, Australia’s minister for foreign affairs.
Coined the Liechtenstein initiative, the commission was launched by the wealthy European principality and by Australia, along with the U.N. University.
In 2015, ending modern slavery was adopted as one of the targets of the 17 global goals adopted by the 193 UN member states.
Separately at the UN, Britain, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia unveiled plans for an alliance to eradicate slavery in global supply chains.