News release: FINTRAC releases money laundering indicators associated with online child sexual exploitation in support of Project Shadow
December 10, 2020 – Ottawa – Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC)
FINTRAC published today its latest Operational Alert, Laundering of Proceeds from Online Child Sexual Exploitation, in support of Project Shadow. This Alert will assist businesses subject to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act in better identifying and reporting to FINTRAC financial transactions related to the laundering of funds associated with online child sexual exploitation.
The Operational Alert and its indicators were developed from an analysis of FINTRAC's financial intelligence and in consultation with Scotiabank, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Sensitive and Specialized Investigative Services.
With the suspicious transaction reporting received from Canadian businesses across the country, FINTRAC will be able to generate and disclose additional financial intelligence to Canada's police and law enforcement agencies in support of their money laundering investigations related to online child sexual exploitation.
FINTRAC's Operational Alert will help facilitate and advance Project Shadow, Canada's latest public-private partnership focused on combatting money laundering associated with financial crime. Co-led by Scotiabank and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Project Shadow is aimed at improving the collective understanding of online child sexual exploitation and strengthening the detection of the facilitation and the laundering of funds related to this illicit activity.
“Through the dedicated efforts of businesses across the country and the financial transactions they report, FINTRAC is able to harness the power of financial intelligence to identify possible perpetrators—and broader networks—linked to this horrific crime. Project Shadow brings together key partners who share the common goal of protecting and rescuing our children from these terrible acts.”
“Project Shadow shines a spotlight on the dark nature of online child sexual exploitation and how criminals are using our financial system to support their illicit activities. I believe our collective efforts to increase awareness, identify typologies and facilitate reporting to law enforcement will make an immeasurable difference in helping to combat this heinous crime.”
“Every minute of every day, thousands of survivors of child sexual abuse are exploited online as offenders sell and trade the worst moments of their lives. Survivors need every single one of us in the battle against this horrific crime. Project Shadow is a new weapon against those profiting from the sexual exploitation of our most vulnerable, providing a critical insight into the complexity of the commercial nature of these crimes.”
“Online child sexual exploitation is an insidious and horrendous crime. Project Shadow is helping us to investigate this illicit activity, identify and remove victims from sexually exploitative environments, and bring those who commit these terrible crimes to justice. Online child sexual exploitation is a borderless crime, and this project is a great example of the importance of partnerships in our multi-sectoral response strategies.
- With the reporting that it has received since the creation of Project Shadow, FINTRAC has produced more than 30 financial intelligence disclosures in relation to online child sexual exploitation for police and law enforcement partners.
- Based on FINTRAC's analysis, perpetrators and suspected perpetrators were nearly all males, mostly aged in their 40s and 50s, located in all Canadian provinces and territories, and employed in a wide range of occupations.
- The top 10 jurisdictions receiving money transfers linked to online child sexual exploitation were: Philippines, Thailand, Colombia, the United States, Ghana, Ukraine, Dominican Republic, Romania, Jamaica and Russia.
- Project Shadow is the fifth public-private partnership involving FINTRAC, the RCMP and Canadian businesses. Project Shadow is modelled after Canada's innovative and successful public-private sector partnerships targeting human trafficking in the sex trade (Project Protect), trafficking of fentanyl (Project Guardian), romance fraud (Project Chameleon) and casino-related transactions through underground banking (Project Athena).
- With Project Protect, for example, FINTRAC has seen a 750% increase in suspicious transaction reporting related to money laundering and human trafficking in the sex trade, and it has provided well over 500 disclosures of actionable financial intelligence to law enforcement agencies across the country and internationally.
Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada
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