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.”

Sarah Paquet, Director and Chief Executive Officer, FINTRAC

“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.”

Stuart Davis, Executive Vice President and Global Head, Financial Crimes Risk Management, Scotiabank

“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.”

Lianna McDonald, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Child Protection

“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.

Chief Superintendent Marie-Claude Arsenault, Officer in Charge, Sensitive and Specialized Investigative Services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

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