Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST)

Outline
  • Expected start date:
    2019•10•01
    Expected end date:
    2021•06•30
    Institute:
    UNU-CPR
    Project Status:
    Ongoing
    Project Type:
    Research
    Project Manager :
    Alice Eckstein

    This project is a follow-up to the Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. On 27 September 2019, The Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking released its final report, “Unlocking Potential: A Blueprint for Mobilizing Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking”. The Blueprint provides a collective-action framework for different financial sector actors to take action to end modern slavery and human trafficking. It sets five Goals, which are accompanied by 30 Actions: 

    Compliance with laws against modern slavery and human trafficking
    Knowing and showing modern slavery and human trafficking risks
    Using leverage creatively to mitigate and address modern slavery and human trafficking risks
    Providing and enabling effec­tive remedy for modern slavery and human trafficking harms
    Investment in innovation for prevention

    The Liechtenstein Initiative for Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (“FAST Initiative”) is designed to promote awareness and drive implementation of the Blueprint and its Goals and Actions. FAST is a project of the United Nations University’s Centre for Policy Research, with the support of numerous Project Partners, each of which will enter an arrangement with UNU-CPR governing its contribution or participation. UNU-CPR is the Secretariat and executes the project. Project Partners include the Office for Foreign Affairs of the Principality of Liechtenstein; and private sector donors such as Liechtenstein Bankers Association; LGT Group; Tarom Foundation; the Foreign Ministry of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Commonwealth of Australia; Minderoo Foundation’s Walk Free Initiative; and the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS). 

    PHASES OF WORK

    Phase 1 – Initial Outreach and Dissemination – October 2019 to March 2020

    This phase focuses on generating maximum visibility for the FAST Blueprint across the full range of financial sub-sectors, continents and language groups. This will occur through a combination of public engagement at high-visibility and high impact events, including the UN Business and Human Rights Forum in Geneva, Davos 2020, events in Asia, press engagement, and small-group convening led by Financial Sector Commissioners (‘Commissioner Roundtables’). The Secretariat will harvest insights from these engagements and disseminate them through a regular newsletter and more analytical ‘Implementation Insights’ circulated to interested stakeholders.

    Phase 2 – Activation of implementation efforts and networks – April to December 2020

    This phase moves from initial dissemination and outreach to active engagement with different financial sub-sectors to promote implementation of the Blueprint. The Secretariat will continue to support Commissioner participation in sectoral and sub-sectoral events to promote the Blueprint, and it will also work with individual financial sector entities and groups to promote implementation and foster collective learning and engagement efforts, including through dissemination to around 75,000 AML professionals through ACAMS’ networks.

    Phase 3 – Collective learning – January to June 2021

    In the final phase, the FAST Secretariat will focus on promoting the harvesting, sharing and absorption of lessons learned on Blueprint Implementation. The aim is to promote learning across financial sub-sectors and encourage a systemic perspective and change. 

    First, the Project Team will engage in a period of ‘Outcome Harvesting’. This is a contemporary approach to Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E), which involves the collection of stories of change from stakeholders involved in a project. ‘Process tracing’ techniques are then used to understand how a project (in this case the publication and implementation of the Blueprint) contributed to the change discussed in the story. This approach to M&E has been found to be very effective in contexts in which change is generated by multiple intertwined factors and follows non-linear pathways – as the Blueprint itself anticipates will be the case here, in its concept of systemic change. To undertake this analysis, the Project Team will use the information gathered in Phases 1 and 2 concerning Blueprint Implementation, including in the Newsletters and Implementation Insights. They will supplement this with an intense burst of stakeholder engagement and research in Q1 2021, to collect and analyze multiple stories of change. 

    These stories of change, and the insights they reveal, will then inform the design and delivery of a 2-day Liechtenstein FAST Initiative Conference, to be held in the second quarter of 2021, in Liechtenstein. This conference will be open to all interested FAST Blueprint implementers. The conference will involve a mix of plenary panels, smaller workshops and lessons-learned sessions, drawing on formats used by convenors such as the World Economic Forum. It will explore lessons learned on Blueprint Implementation across different sub-sectors. At least one of the final sessions will reflect on ‘next steps’ in FAST Blueprint Implementation. A meeting summary will be published after the event summarizing key lessons learned, how the state of play on financial sector engagement with modern slavery and human trafficking issues has shifted since the publication of the Blueprint, and proposed steps for further sector mobilization.

    Across these three phases, FAST will produce a range of key deliverables:

    Project team support to former Commissioners’ dissemination roundtables with key influencers and networks
    Dissemination and promotion of the Blueprint through participation of FAST project team members and former Commissioners in financial sector and related events worldwide
    Dissemination and promotion of the Blueprint, and subsequently of Blueprint implementation lessons, through a monthly newsletter, occasional webinars and 3 Implementation Updates (Q2 2020, Q4 2020, prior to the Implementation Review Conference in 2021) reviewing the state of implementation of the Blueprint
    Targeted engagement with press, parliamentary or regulatory inquiries and intergovernmental processes (eg through provision of expert inputs or submissions related to best practice in financial sector engagement)
    Management and development of the Financial Access Project, including:
    The Survivor Inclusion stream of work, which involves work with banks, survivor service organizations and regulations to facilitate the access of survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking to basic, safe financial services; and
    The Vulnerable Populations stream of work, which is exploring new approaches to promoting financial access for populations that are highly vulnerable to modern slavery and human trafficking.
    An Implementation Review Conference to be held in Liechtenstein in Q2 2021, bringing together stakeholders that have been implementing the Blueprint, to review progress and lessons learned (see above). 

    FAST will work through five main workstreams: 1) political engagement; 2) banks, AML and compliance; 3) investing; 4) the Survivor Inclusion Initiative; and 5) the Vulnerable Populations Initiative. This section sets out the key actors, relationships and projects under development in each cluster. 

    Political engagement

    The aim of this cluster is to drive Blueprint implementation through engagement in single country and multilateral political engagement.

    2. Banks, AML and compliance

    The aim of this cluster is to drive Blueprint implementation by banks, AML-related actors and compliance personnel.

    3. Investors

    The aim of this cluster is to drive Blueprint implementation by investors all over the world, including through the development of relevant risk analysis markets.

    4.) Survivor Inclusion Initiative

    FAST is working with banks and survivor support organizations to accelerate provision of safe and reliable basic financial services to survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking. The Initiative is already active in the US, UK, Canada and Austria, with 12 banks (including Bank of America, Barclays, Citi, Wells Fargo) and 6 survivor support organizations. It will roll out in Australia in early 2020. Through the course of the project the FAST team will work to:

    expand the number of jurisdictions covered
    work to involve credit bureau to facilitate rehabilitation of tainted credit records
    collect learnings from the process to strengthen survivor’s financial inclusion, capabilities and resilience
    and maximize the number of survivors reached.

    6.) Vulnerable Populations Initiative

    FAST is developing a research framework that will allow multiple partners to test the hypothesis that improved financial access reduces vulnerability to modern slavery and human trafficking. While there is initial and anecdotal evidence supporting this hypothesis in different contexts, it has yet to be rigorously tested. Working with research partners, FAST will explore this hypothesis through using natural experiments when new financial services are rolled out to vulnerable populations, and through other research methods.