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.


The Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists article details some of Polaris’s work with major financial institutions to detect and dismantle sex and labor trafficking networks.

Financial Services Intersection

Trafficking businesses, like virtually all businesses, need credit cards, debit cards, checking accounts, and other financial services to operate. The details matter. Understanding the specifics – how “escort services” pay for hotel rooms, or agriculture workers send money to home countries, is the key to stopping these criminal businesses from operating.

Survivor Inclusion Initiative

Human trafficking survivors are often locked out of even the most banking services because of poor credit and financial history. Polaris played a key role in a new United Nations program designed to help survivors of human trafficking get basic checking accounts – a key first step in building a solid financial future.

Financial Intelligence Unit

Polaris’s Financial Intelligence Unit, a partnership with PayPal, convenes leaders in the financial services industry to share information and analyze intelligence that will help the anti-money laundering community to recognize financial transactions that are red flags for human trafficking.

Additional Resources

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