Financial Intelligence Unit

Human trafficking is a business.  And like any business in today’s economy, trafficking businesses cannot function on cash alone. Instead, they rely on financial services  – banks, credit cards, payment processors and the like – all of which leave a virtual paper trail that can be used to identify and dismantle trafficking operations. But first you have to know what to look for. Polaris’s Financial Intelligence Unit, a partnership with PayPal, brings together the anti-money laundering, banking and law enforcement communities with the expertise of human trafficking survivors and others in the anti-trafficking field.

Financial Intelligence Unit in Action

How Survivor-Led Collaborations Can Inform Anti-Money Laundering Efforts

We joined forces with Megan Lundstrom, a leading anti trafficking researcher, to pilot a project in which they examined her bank records from the period in which she was being trafficked. The effort, with partners from PayPal and Capital One, led to actionable insights about the daily financial transactions of a sex trafficking operation and clearly demonstrated the importance and value of collaborating with trafficking survivors to understand the realities of the crime and work toward effective solutions.



Need help? Polaris operates the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline.