Exposing the financial roots of modern slavery
Valerie Farabee is working overtime to put herself out of a job someday.
“It’s ridiculous that we’re still dealing with slavery in 2019,” says Farabee, director of the Operational Research & Analysis Programme at Liberty Shared, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing forced laborand other forms of human trafficking. “I should not have to be considered an abolitionist.”
Bureau van Dijk, a Moody’s Analytics company, is helping Farabee move a little closer to her goal by raising international awareness of Liberty Shared’s mission through our events and webinars. Last year, our team also showed Liberty Shared how the company’s Orbis database and its functionality could accelerate the nonprofit’s investigations into the sources of financing behind forced labor.
“This was a unique chance for us to educate more people about a problem that’s not only significant for their business but also has huge moral and social implications,” says Louise Green, managing director of marketing and communications at Bureau van Dijk. “We’re inspired to see how information provided through Orbis is helping companies do the right thing.”
Credible information in 60% less time
Today, more than 40 million people are in modern slavery, and forced labor generates roughly $150 billion in revenue each year.1 Farabee’s team helps disrupt these crimes by identifying the entities involved in what she calls the “trafficking-to-supply chain” and sharing this information with financial service providers, regulators, government agencies and law enforcement bodies.
“We look for information along the chain. That begins with a worker being trafficked and ends with the ultimate consumer of the slave-created product,” she explains. “One of our main targets is the beneficial owners of any company that might be profiting from an instance of forced labor.”
Bureau van Dijk, a Moody’s Analytics company that provides information on more than 300 million private companies, invited Farabee and her researchers to use its Orbis database and technology as part of their investigative process in a forced-labor case last summer. The results, she says, were remarkable.
“Pulling together ownership information for a modern slavery case is definitely one of our more time-consuming tasks at Liberty Shared. It can take three months or more for one full-time analyst,” Farabee says. “On the case we trialed with Orbis, it cut down our research time by 60%. Besides making it very easy to find what we were looking for, the information was credible, which helps us build a stronger case.”
Boosting the signal with industry forums
Seeing the value of Orbis in these types of investigations led us to team with Liberty Shared on another vital piece of its work: drawing greater attention to the financial roots and human impacts of modern slavery.
As part of our August 2018 seminar on regulatory compliance in Australia, Kaitlyn Speer, manager of Liberty Shared’s Operational Research& Analysis Programme, spoke about how she uses ownership and financial data to combat human trafficking. Along with creating and sharing a video interview with Speer to further amplify her message, we also hosted a 30-minute webinar in November that featured Farabee detailing Liberty Shared’s work.
Collectively, these pieces of content had more than 700 views by the end of January 2019, and nearly 30% of webinar attendees requested a follow-up meeting with Bureau van Dijk to learn more about how they can use trafficking-to-supply-chain data in their compliance efforts. Nearly 1,000 people also expressed interest in this topic via our social channels by engaging with and sharing the content.
Liberty Shared will continue to team with us for upcoming webinars on modern slavery and related supply chain issues. For example, a session in spring 2019 will focus on how the Orbis database can help international law enforcement agencies disrupt human-trafficking operations.
“It was extremely rewarding for us to work with Valerie on building awareness and to see our data play a part in helping break the modern slavery business,” says Lee Yee Yap, senior director of global marketing and events for the Asia-Pacific region at Bureau van Dijk.
For Liberty Shared, the feeling is mutual.
“We are doing this to create a safer environment for vulnerable people who just wanted a job in order to feed their family and became stuck in a horrible situation,” Farabee says. “Having Bureau van Dijk continue to put out assets related to combating human trafficking and slavery means their entire audience — financial crime professionals, compliance people,anti-money laundering people and bankers — will recognize that this is a hot issue.”
“This was a unique chance for us to educate more people about a problem that’s not only significant for their business but also has huge moral and social implications.”
MANAGING DIRECTOR, MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS, BUREAU VAN DIJK
“We are doing this to create a safer environment for vulnerable people who just wanted a job in order to feed their family and became stuck in a horrible situation.”
DIRECTOR, OPERATIONAL RESEARCH & ANALYSIS PROGRAMME, LIBERTY SHARED
People in modern slavery around the world