A U.S. advisory on human trafficking outlines the financial-crime risks posed by online gift-card exchanges, which have been used by websites peddling potentially illegal adult services to collect payment after the federal shutdown of Backpage.com restricted other options. Since federal authorities seized the Backpage domain in April 2018 after accusing the website's founders of accepting and laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit proceeds, gift cards have emerged alongside cryptocurrency and third-party payment processors as workarounds for the illegal sex industry to take payments from customers. In an Oct. 15 advisory that significantly builds on its previous public analysis...
The founder of several websites described as a "successor" to Backpage.com, the now-defunct website that facilitated illicit sex advertising, used gift cards and banks to launder millions of dollars and refused conventional online payments, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Several U.S. banks have intensified their efforts to spot sex trafficking payments following the federal shutdown of Backpage.com, including by cross-referencing their own know-your-customer data against dozens of other websites that advertise potentially illicit adult services.
Financial institutions face new challenges in identifying human trafficking payments following the federal government’s dismantlement of Backpage.com, the most widely used high-profile website for advertising prostitution, say sources.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued a supplementary advisory on identifying and reporting human trafficking and related activities, supplementing its 2014 guidance on recognizing financial flags that may be associated with human trafficking.