Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST)

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    Project Manager :
    Janina Pescinski

    The Initiative focuses on empowering financial sector actors to embed an anti-slavery and anti-human trafficking agenda in their operations, building on a successful set of activities carried out between 2019 – 2021. The aim is, by the end of 2023, to have these agendas integrated in the thinking and practice of the global financial sector, to have catalyzed new initiatives that action FAST Blueprint ideas, and to have encouraged collaborative learning throughout sectoral communities, including government and multilateral actors.

    FAST carries out a number of activities in support of these objectives, including awareness-raising, professional development, research and publication of insights, data and tools development, collaborative action, and also encourages the development of evidence-based, commercially viable solutions to the modern slavery and human trafficking risks that vulnerable populations face (e.g. microlending).

     FAST believes that the financial sector will be central to any sustainable change where modern slavery is concerned. The financial sector is not just commercial business. It is also public actors, non-profit actors, regulators and supervisory bodies, individual and household savers and investors, and others beside. Mobilizing the sector will require partnership, especially between governments and financial industry leaders.


    The overall objective of the FAST Initiative is to reduce modern slavery and human trafficking through incorporation of related risks into financial sector regulation and practice. The initiative supports anti-slavery and anti-human trafficking efforts globally, and is prioritizing new activities in Asia-Pacific and Africa, where the prevalence and risks of modern slavery are highest.

     The expanded FAST initiative comprises three workstreams: Governments and Multilaterals, Banking and Investment, and High-risk Populations.

    The first workstream is focused on broadening engagement with and supplying insights to governments, multilateral institutions and other stakeholders on laws, regulations and policies relating to modern slavery and human trafficking. Engagement will focus on public lenders, regulatory bodies, government officials and multilateral development actors. 

    The second workstream aims at convening, influencing, supporting, and educating financial sector actors new to and already engaged with the modern slavery and human trafficking agenda. It is focused on identifying tools and practices that can shift business as usual approaches and, importantly, induce greater interest and cooperation to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking by clarifying risks and emphasising opportunities in industry practices and processes. Over the next three years, FAST will broaden its community of partners and catalyze interaction amongst existing and new partners in the financial sector. 

     The third workstream investigates the new frontiers of vulnerability. This workstream will include policy-relevant academic contributions and insights targeted to policymakers and the financial sector. It will surface the latest evidence relating to financial sector interventions to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking and, where possible, assess the effectiveness of these interventions. It will spotlight innovations that may be of particular relevance to collaborators in Workstreams 1 and 2 and draw attention to political and socio-economic changes that could impede efforts to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking.

     Workstream 1: Governments and Multilaterals

    Objectives will be achieved through the following key actions:

    Peer-to-peer learning activities for government and multilateral officials, including public lenders, investors, regulatory bodies (inc. exchanges), and development actors.
    Sustained engagement with government and multilateral officials to embed anti-slavery and anti-human trafficking in sustainable finance approaches and improve cooperation with the financial sector.
    Regular evidence-based submissions to public policy processes: AML/CFT, sanctions, mHRDD, sustainable finance.
    Support the creation of an independent global ‘adverse actions’ database sharing information about divestments, procurement exclusions, building on the Thai ‘negative list’, Brazilian ‘dirty list’, US CBP Withhold Release Orders, and other adverse findings connected to modern slavery and human trafficking.
    Training government and multilateral officials, financial regulators, development actors, and public lenders/investors to address modern slavery and human trafficking risks, drawing on evidence and insights from partners and generated through Workstream 3.

    Workstream 2: Banking and Investment 

     Objectives will be achieved through the following key actions:

    Collective learning activities for financial actors focused on risk, due diligence, supply chains, leverage, insurance, auditing, among others. Production and dissemination of targeted insights for financial sector actors to support embedding anti-slavery and anti-human trafficking approaches in financial practice.
    Training of bank, institutional investor, auditors, insurance, stock exchange personnel.
    Co-development of screening, compliance and risk analysis tools.

    Workstream 3: Vulnerable and High-risk Populations

     Objectives will be achieved through the following key actions:

    Innovative research on COVID-19 and broader socio-economic change to explore how these phenomena impact vulnerability to modern slavery and human trafficking. To the extent possible, this research will involve and incorporate the views of business, financial actors, and high-risk populations.
    Study financial interventions for vulnerable populations and assess their effectiveness to ultimately improve the financial resilience of vulnerable populations. Disseminate findings for (a) governments and multilateral organizations; (b) financial sector actors; and (c) civil society organizations.
    Support efforts that broaden access to financial services for survivors, notably, by linking survivor support organizations and financial institutions, promoting financial literacy, disseminating best practices; and document the impact, if any, of access to financial services on reducing vulnerability.