Financial crime affects all of us to a degree, but some vulnerable individuals are left with their lives in tatters while the criminals bank their dirty cash and move on to their next victim. Money laundering rewards the evil individuals who engage in human trafficking, green crime, drug smuggling and modern slavery. It is therefore imperative that we take a stand against financial crime and support the organisations that are working against this evil. On this World Non-Governmental Organisation Day, we shine a light on five NGOs that support, empower and uplift the survivors of financial crime.
Dear to the heart of our very own Robin Lee, who has seen its work in action, Hagar International is a global NGO that works to restore the lives of survivors of human trafficking, slavery, and abuse. Founded in 1994, Hagar provides a range of services including housing, education, legal assistance, and medical care to help survivors rebuild their lives.
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Transnational organised crime decimates our planet’s wildlife and generates multi billion dollar profits for criminal gangs. Every 24 hours, a rhino is poached, and every second, three sharks are finned. The world’s remaining 4,000 tigers are an attractive target for the criminals. The Wildlife Justice Commission disrupts and helps to dismantle the criminal networks that profit from the trafficking of wildlife, timber and fish, with the overall mission of stopping species from becoming extinct, and arresting the threats to global security and public health. Its partnerships with law enforcement agencies have led to animal parts being seized and live animals being rescued, as well as helping to secure the convictions of many of the perpetrators. “It takes a network to defeat a network”, the charity says.
If you thought slavery was a historical abomination, think again. Anti-Slavery International is a London based non-profit working to erase modern slavery. Did you know that global estimates put the number of people who are trapped in modern slavery at nearly 50 million? Over 17 million of these are in forced labour, and one in four of those are children. Last year, the organisation conducted its first ever review of the UK’s Recovery Need Assessment and found, shockingly, that we are still failing survivors of modern slavery. The charity campaigns for Freedom for everyone, everywhere, always.
US based Polaris works with survivors of human trafficking, helping them to heal. It also campaigns to dismantle the systems that have allowed 28 million people a year to be trafficked. The organisation has trained more than 2,000 financial services and anti money laundering professionals to spot the signs of human trafficking and to share knowledge, information and best practice in real time. Victims are often locked out of mainstream financial services, but Polaris’s work has led to six major banks in the US extending specialised financial services to survivors. A further five banks in other jurisdictions are also part of this scheme. Since research shows that the majority of survivors have a criminal record as a result of their experience, the charity also works with state legislators to improve criminal records relief laws.
Amy may be lost, but her Foundation works with children and young people to recover from drug or alcohol problems, providing bespoke support, residential treatment and music therapy to under 30s struggling with addiction. It’s one of many charities the world over clearing up the devastation created by drug cartels, whose revenue is estimated to lie in the tens of billions of US dollars annually.
These tears really don’t dry on their own. If you can help by getting involved with a worthwhile NGO, or by making a donation, today’s the day! The world will thank you.
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