Modern slavery commission will help financial sector fight human trafficking

Protestors attend a demonstration against slavery, in Stockholm, Sweden, on November 25, 2017.

Fiona Reynolds is chair of the Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking and CEO of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The opinions expressed in this article are solely hers.

(CNN)It's often said that you need to "follow the money" when it comes to organized crime. Yet, despite the fact that barely a day goes by that modern slavery or human trafficking is not a news headline, few steps have been taken to bring the financial sector to the heart of this fight.

Fiona Reynolds
This week, the Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking was launched during the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly to find ways to harness the full potential of the sector to eradicate this scourge on human rights.
    These crimes are estimated to affect 1 in 185 people worldwide, in both developing and developed economies.
    Modern slavery and labor trafficking are often embedded in complex value chains, from the transnational supply chains that generate the consumer products we use every day, to complex infrastructure investment deals backed by national pension funds. Modern slavery and human trafficking thrive where big business turns away its gaze. The International Labour Organization estimates annual profits at $150 billion.

    Bringing together finance leaders

    Because of the magnitude of these crimes, the Government of Liechtenstein together with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Centre for Policy Research at United Nations University, have established the Financial Sector Commission, known as the Liechtenstein Initiative.
    The Commission brings together leaders from the financial sector -- including microcredit pioneer and Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, and those from Bridgewater Associates, ABN AMRO, Barclays, the Swedish National Pension Fund AP2, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, and the UK's development finance institution -- with financial regulators, anti-slavery heads, and survivors of these crimes.
    Together, we will explore ways to accelerate financial-sector engagement to tackle these problems, touching on everything from