Given the serious nature of child sex exploitation, red flags about possible incidents are begging for a response. To help, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (Fintac) says it has developed a list of clues.
Learn to spot wrongdoing
This anti-money laundering agency reveals how to a spot a financial transaction linked to online child sexual exploitation.
Fintrac has issued an operational alert prompted by suspicions of an increase in the consumption and production of digital material related to sexual abuse of children. The pandemic could be the culprit in this regard.
Fintrac’s financial intelligence worked in consultation with Scotiabank, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the RCMP to offer a list of red flags. It is known as Project Shadow, denoting the hidden nature of the activity’s hidden nature.
In fact, reflects after earlier public-private sector partnerships designed to target human trafficking in the sex trade, the sale of fentanyl, romance fraud and casino-related transactions by means of underground banking.
Based on Fintrac’s data-crunching, the top jurisdictions receiving money transfers linked to online child sexual exploitation were the Philippines, Thailand, Colombia, the United States, Ghana, Ukraine, Dominican Republic, Romania, Jamaica and Russia. Of note, most funds are sent through money service businesses.
Deep scrutiny reveals the truth
Fintrac’s mission is to uncover any links to terrorism and money laundering. To do so, it has had to review millions of pieces of information from banks, insurance companies, securities dealers, money service businesses, real estate brokers, casinos, and others.
It has been worth the effort given that it has uncovered more than 30 disclosures of financial intelligence linked to child sexual exploitation.
Now law enforcement can step in with essentially another tool in their toolbox to combat child sexual abuse material on the internet, so says Barry MacKillop, Fintrac’s Deputy Director for Intelligence. Plus, there is a gap to fill to identify and prioritize suspects involved in such exploitation adds Chief Supt. Marie-Claude Arsenault of the RCMP’s sensitive and specialized investigative services.
According to Signy Arnason, Associate Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the new project would give impetus to the ongoing battle to “expose the underbelly” of the disturbing proliferation of children’s images online.
Blatant indicators tell the tale
There are some immediate indicators to note. For example, watch for a man male frequently transfers low-value funds to the same or multiple females in the countries of concern over a short time, with no apparent family connection or other reason to do so.
Travel-related expenses to a suspected jurisdiction might be another clue. Certainly engaging in virtual private network services and buying encryption tools is a sign. Underground activity needs webcam or livestreaming platforms, including those for adult entertainment.
Above all, any suspicious transactions tend to be done with prepaid credit cards or those using virtual currencies.