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Western Union Crack Down on Human Trafficking

August 06, 2018

Launch of Anti-Human Trafficking Toolkit as part of Thomson Reuters Foundation & U.S. Banks Alliance

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. August 06, 2018: The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a leader in cross border, cross currency money movement, today announced its participation in the launch of a Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF) and U.S. Banks Alliance-led Anti-Human Trafficking Toolkit for the industry.

In collaboration with other financial institutions and NGOs, the toolkit has been designed to help U.S.-based financial institutions fight human trafficking using financial data to identify and report irregularities in financial transactions that may be linked to human trafficking activity. It follows the May 2017 launch of a similar toolkit by the European Bankers Alliance, a multi-stakeholder working group established by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, of which Western Union is a founding member.

The toolkit will be shared with a group of banks and money service businesses, anti-trafficking NGOs and other key institutions, including financial crime compliance standard-setting bodies, national Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) and law enforcement agencies.

“Western Union vigorously condemns activities facilitating human trafficking. As an industry-wide issue, detection and deterrence is a shared responsibility, and so we are pleased to collaborate on this initiative to facilitate awareness and information that enhances our understanding and ability to identify, disrupt and report suspicious activity pertaining to human trafficking”, said Duncan DeVille, SVP, Global Head of Financial Crimes Compliance at Western Union.

“Our own Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has been involved in more than 1,380 investigations to date, which have resulted in the rescue of 178 victims and 354 arrests,” DeVille continued.

According to a 2017 report by anti-slavery NGO Walk Free Foundation and the International Labour Organization (ILO), an estimated 40.3 million men, women and children were trapped in modern-day slavery in 2016. A 2014 ILO report reported that this activity in the private economy generates US$150 billion in illegal profits per year.

The most recent U.S. Justice Department statistics estimate that 14,500–17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year, and thousands of youth born in the United States are at risk for trafficking into the commercial sex industry.

Western Union has taken, and continues to take, comprehensive steps to significantly improve its compliance programs and fight those who seek to abuse its cross-border platform for illicit activities. In November 2013, Western Union joined the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, working in collaboration with NGOs, private companies, law enforcement and governments to protect the basic right of freedom and to bring those who exploit human lives to justice.

The Company also collaborates with a variety of local and international NGOs in this space.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement. Our omnichannel platform connects the digital and physical worlds and makes it possible for consumers and businesses to send and receive money and make payments with speed, ease, and reliability. As of June 30, 2018, our network included over 550,000 retail agent locations offering Western Union, Vigo or Orlandi Valuta branded services in more than 200 countries and territories, with the capability to send money to billions of accounts. Additionally, westernunion.com, our fastest growing channel in 2017, is available in 45 countries and territories to move money around the world. In 2017, we moved over $300 billion in principal in nearly 130 currencies and processed 32 transactions every second across all our services. With our global reach, Western Union moves money for better, connecting family, friends and businesses to enable financial inclusion and support economic growth. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.

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Contacts:
Media Relations:
Claire Treacy
+1 (303) 547-2347
Claire.treacy@westernunion.com