Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking Enters New Phase of Growth

UNU-CPR appoints Daniel Thelesklaf as Project Director of the Liechtenstein Initiative for Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking.

United Nations University Centre for Policy Research has appointed Daniel Thelesklaf as the Head of Secretariat and Project Director of the Liechtenstein Initiative for Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST), and welcomes a new partnership with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) that will support the growth of FAST over the next three years.

Mr Thelesklaf brings a wealth of experience to this leadership role. He is a sought-after expert in the field of anti-money laundering and anti-corruption policy and practice, with nearly 30 years of experience working with government and financial institutions. He previously served as a member of the Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, which laid the foundation for FAST. After a career in private sector finance, he served as Co-Executive Director of the Basel Institute on Governance. From 2012-2019, he was the Director of the Liechtenstein Financial Intelligence Unit and served two terms as Chairman of Moneyval, the European anti-money laundering monitoring body. In 2019, he became the Director of the Swiss Financial Intelligence Unit and was appointed Co-Chair of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s Risk, Trends and Methods Working Group.

Mr Thelesklaf’s appointment follows a new partnership established with Norad, which joins a coalition of public, private and philanthropic partners including the Governments of Liechtenstein, Australia and The Netherlands to promote engagement with the financial sector to address modern slavery. Norad’s support will help grow the FAST team, adding specialist engagement leads and additional operational capacity, as well as supporting new research, training and engagement efforts through 2023.

“I am thrilled to be joining Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking at this exciting time in its development and at an important inflection point for sustainable finance," Mr Thelesklaf said. "The COVID-19 pandemic has shown all too clearly the need to mobilize the financial sector to better protect and support the most vulnerable in our global economy, in particular from modern slavery and human trafficking. We are grateful to Norad for their support of this vital, collaborative initiative.”

H.E. Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the United Nations, noted, “In a short period of time, the Liechtenstein Initiative has built impressive global momentum, galvanizing many parts of the financial sector against modern slavery and human trafficking. Daniel brings substantial vision, clout, and experience to the role, having worked at the highest levels of government and due to his substantive role in producing the Blueprint for Mobilizing Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking.”

“Now more than ever, we need a solid evidence base about what really works in policymaking to address modern slavery and human trafficking, while at the same time catalyzing the financial sector as a lever for the entire global economy against these abuses,” Alice Eckstein, Modern Slavery Programme Manager at United Nations University Centre for Policy Research, explained. “We are delighted for Daniel to be joining our team and continuing to build meaningful synergies between our projects towards this aim.”

Mr Thelesklaf succeeds Professor James Cockayne, who has led the initiative since its inception. “We thank James for his leadership of this project. His dedication to this important work is recognized around the world, and he leaves a strong foundation for Daniel to be able to quickly and effectively respond to this urgent priority,” added Dr David Passarelli, Executive Director of United Nations University Centre for Policy Research. Professor Cockayne, who will stay on with FAST as a consulting Senior Fellow to ensure a smooth transition, said: “Daniel Thelesklaf is the leader Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking needs now. His deep understanding of these issues from his time on the Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking and decades of relevant experience, as well as his integrity, wisdom and vision make Daniel the perfect fit to take FAST forward. I wish him and the team at United Nations University Centre for Policy Research every success.”

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