When the "why" of fighting financial crimes is forgotten...
"Dauphin County District Attorney Francis Chardo says the vast majority of people involved in prostitution are the victims of human trafficking. Mr. Chardo says it’s very infrequent that a person will choose this type of life willingly. He says many times it can be children who are taken from their homes and forced to perform. Often, it’s girls and women addicted to opioids who are held captive with the promise of repeat fixes. There have even been instances of young girls, one as young as 4, being sexually trafficked by their parents.
The difficulty for prosecutors is proving the actual knowledge that someone was being forced into their role. But the law doesn’t help the situation by only treating patronizing of prostitution as a misdemeanor of the third degree. There needs to be more of a deterrent in the law in much the same way that there is for drunk driving. The stiffness in penalties for a DUI has not stopped everyone from getting behind the wheel after drinking, but it’s certainly persuaded many people to call an Uber.
Every shocking and horrifying story is a reminder that the law must be changed to deal more harshly with those who choose to make these victims available and those who take advantage of that availability. You might think this happens only in foreign countries, but not here in the United States and certainly not in Pennsylvania. The sad truth is that, since 2007, the National Trafficking Hotline has received more than 3,700 calls related to human trafficking in Pennsylvania. More than 800 of those were considered high levels of human trafficking."
Some Potential Red Flags of Human Trafficking and Smuggling:
- High volume deposits through funnel accounts and immediate withdrawals from border towns
- Ongoing ATM/credit card transactions in even amounts between 10 PM and 6 AM
- Credit card payments to online escort services for advertising
- Sudden activity changes in business accounts outside of the customer’s expected profile
- Use of anonymous monetary instruments to pay bills instead of personal checks
- Structured cash deposits at multiple bank branch locations
In fact, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines human trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery that involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. It is estimated to be a $100 billion global industry... Whatever is being done to fight human trafficking is obviously not enough. Stricter penalties are needed for those involved at both ends of the crime — the supplier and the customer. In most instances, the person caught in the middle, the one providing the illegal service, is actually a victim.