ABN AMRO joins worldwide initiative to fight human trafficking

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The Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking presented its report during the General Assembly of the United Nations on 27 September 2019. ABN AMRO’s Chief Risk Officer Tanja Cuppen has become a member of this commission. This is a public-private partnership with the purpose of rallying the global financial sector to use its negotiating power to put an end to modern slavery and human trafficking.

Key success factors in this initiative are collective learning and making the most of the information available. ABN AMRO, working with the University of Amsterdam and the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, has already taken steps to achieve this. Together, the parties have developed data model enabling ABN AMRO to search its systems for suspicious activity. Any such activity can then be reported to the relevant government authorities. By doing so, the bank contributes towards the detection of human traffickers. This joint project was one of the reasons that ABN AMRO was invited to join the Commission and share its experiences.


Tanja Cuppen, ABN AMRO Chief Risk Officer: “Modern slavery and human trafficking pose a major threat to our society. Worldwide, there were over 40 million victims of modern slavery or human trafficking in 2016 – that’s 1 in every 185 people. A horrific figure. A great deal of money is made at their expense, more even than in the days when slavery was still legal. The financial sector has got to battle these practices, and it can. It’s a matter of using our negotiating power with companies and our information on financial flows. As human rights is one of the focus points of our sustainability strategy, ABN AMRO has been dedicated to this goal for several years. Now, by sharing our knowledge and experience in fighting human trafficking and modern slavery through the Commission, we are giving other financial institutions around the world the opportunity to use our best practices to help right these wrongs.”

Global cooperation

Collaborating with the governments of Liechtenstein, Australia and the Netherlands, the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research and a consortium of financial institutions and charitable foundations and societies, ABN AMRO has taken stock of existing solutions and new ideas for the detection of human trafficking. One such initiative is a data model jointly developed by ABN AMRO and the University of Amsterdam. The model enables us to identify patterns in transaction data that signal exploitation and human trafficking. We hope it inspires other financial institutions to take action as well. The purpose of the report of the Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking is to put an end to exploitation and human trafficking. To this end, it describes thirty concrete actions financial institutions could take – 15 that can be taken immediately and 15 actions to be fleshed out in the near future. 

Read the press release about the report here. The report itself is available at http://www.fastinitiative.org/the-blueprint/.

ABN AMRO and human rights

ABN AMRO published its first human rights report in 2016, making it the first bank in the world to report according to the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework. In 2017, ABN AMRO received the  Crystal Prize for its innovative and pioneering way of reporting on human rights. The bank’s second human rights report was published in 2019. ABN AMRO also initiated the data model.

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