Hala Bou Alwan is the Founder and CEO of Hala Bou Alwan (HBA) Consultancy Image Credit: Supplied

Despite the great efforts we are seeing at a global level to fight human trafficking, is it enough? Despite campaigns and new regulations to fight financial crimes globally, does it always give a focused attention on human trafficking?

When we hear someone listing the regulatory understanding of financial crimes, do we always see it including human trafficking? AT HBA Consultancy we witness many cases where the basics of anti-humane trafficking were missing at multiple organisations.

Fighting financial crimes should always take into consideration the probability of human trafficking as the result of the financial crime. This crime should be on the top of the list as it is an anti humane one before anything else. We tend to underestimate the impact of this crime on societies.

All this raises many questions:

How many times there are cases where a woman comes to a certain country to work as a nanny or helper/keeper and they are shocked to know that the job is something else?

How many times are these women saved?

How many times, after the case is exposed, this is treated as contractual and once the contract ends, they send back the victim back home after their lives are ruined ?

How many times these workers die in mysterious situations and their families never have a closure?

How many times there are cases of forged documentation to bring helpers and nannies and other workers under the acceptable legal age ?

How many times the worker works beyond normal acceptable working hours with no compensation?

How many times workers spend several years in certain countries and they are under paid massively or even not paid at all?

How many times we miss on fighting it?

At HBA we ensure that we enable our clients and partners with the knowledge to detect whether the laundered money is a result of human trafficking, or the launderer have many businesses that includes human trafficking.

In addition to fighting third party-human trafficking, which in many instances unfortunately ends by not just selecting a supplier who was suspected in dealing with human trafficking without taking any action, we also equip organisations which don’t have the right mitigating framework. We guide them as well on how to report these cases.

Some countries do not have strict laws to protect their citizens if they were abused in a way or another under these fields, but is this an excuse for the receiver country to turn the blind eye on certain cases, saying if the sender country allowed that then it’s not our fault?

Image Credit:

AT HBA when we say financial crimes, human trafficking should always be a core part of it.

Yes money laundering is a very serious crime. Human trafficking is a destructive crime on all levels. When we conduct trainings we ensure to walk our clients and partners on how this crime can happen, what allows it, what facilitates it, how some negligence can directly contribute to it ? How to report it? How to detect its red flags, what kind of policies and manuals should be in place.

It would be great to have specific stronger laws on human trafficking crimes like we have on money laundering and other crimes in every region across the globe, also obligatory training and awareness requirements and a detailed human tracking “practical” policy in every organisation .

What HBA and other great companies do to fight human trafficking is not enough if this is not embedded in the way we raise our kids, included in our academic programmes and detailed in our regulations, thereby leading to a natural fight against human trafficking.

This will help enable everyone to detect it and empower many to say “NO” whether as victim or a witness or even a passenger in this awful crime!

About Hala Bou Alwan

Hala Bou Alwan is the Founder and CEO of Hala Bou Alwan (HBA) Consultancy, a firm that specialises in governance, compliance and financial crimes advisory and training. https://www.linkedin.com/in/halaboualwan/

She is a lawyer, member of the Lebanese Lawyers’ Bar Association and holds dual Masters degrees (LLM) in Artificial intelligence and law from Universite La Sagesse, Lebanon and another Master’s degree ELLM in International Business Law from Boston University USA.

She has more than 19 years of success helping regulators, governments, boards and high-profile organisations pave their governance, compliance and financial crimes mitigation roadmaps.

She is a speaker, thought leader, trainer and author of many articles, interviews, research papers and events across the globe. Prior to establishing her own firm, and for the last nine years Hala led two senior roles at Thomson Reuters, in the Market Development for Financial Crimes business across emerging markets globally and Educational Governance Risk and Compliance Business across EMEA and Asia.

Prior to this Hala was the TSME – DIFC compliance Consultant, authorised by Dubai Financial services Authority. She was also the Head of the Anti-Financial crimes at BLOM Bank France, and prior to that legal consultant at Raja Bou Alwan Law firm and IP compliance Officer at United Nations -UNDP. Find out more about here here: http://www.hba-consultancy.com