In the latest episode of the UK Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) podcast, panellists from the FIU and the National Crime Agency (NCA) discuss the unique importance of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in combatting modern slavery and human trafficking – and how to make these SARs more helpful.

SARs are essential in identifying potential modern slavery because the victims of modern slavery are some of the most vulnerable in our society. Very few victims come forward, either due to coercion by the perpetrators of crimes against them, language and other barriers, or fear of the authorities.

The NCA emphasises that it reviews hundreds of SARs every day but that all SARs relating to modern slavery are assessed by strategic analysts in order to improve the authorities’ understanding of the bigger picture of the threat in the UK.

The NCA suggests that reporters should:

  1. Make clear whether the subject of the SAR is a suspected offender or victim.
  2. Include the specific dates of each financial transaction and all other relevant details, including passport and telephone numbers.
  3. Explain how recently the transactions occurred, so that the authorities can assess how urgent their response needs to be.

The podcast emphasises that banks and other financial institutions continue to play a major role in bringing to light modern slavery (for example through analysis of transactions raising modern slavery concerns).

The author would like to thank Fran Garvey for her assistance in preparing this blog post.