Sudan police save 85 minors from trafficking network: Interpol

The networks abducted migrants and demanded ransoms, the agency said, and forced their victims to work or beg. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 September 2018
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Sudan police save 85 minors from trafficking network: Interpol

  • The networks abducted migrants and demanded ransoms, the agency said, and forced their victims to work or beg
  • Two men and twelve women were arrested and around $20,000 of suspected ransom money was seized

DAKAR: Nearly 100 human trafficking victims have been rescued in a major police operation in Sudan, including dozens of children forced to work in illegal gold mines, Interpol said on Monday.
Operation Sawiyan involved 200 Sudanese police officers who rescued 94 people, including 85 minors, from criminal networks in and around the capital, Khartoum, in an Interpol-led week-long crackdown last month, the global police organization said.
Many of the victims were from other African countries and believed to have been traveling toward Europe when they fell into the hands of traffickers, said Tim Morris, Interpol’s executive director of police services.
“We believe that they were transiting through Sudan and then kidnapped en route and diverted into these forced labor activities,” Morris told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The victims came from Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Niger, Sudan and South Sudan, he said.
Police found some children as young as ten handling dangerous chemicals in open-air gold mines east of Khartoum, while others were forced to beg in the city, said Interpol.
They also arrested 14 suspected traffickers and seized 20,000 dollars which they believe included ransom money sent by a victim’s family to buy his freedom, the organization added.
Sudan is a source and transit country for African migrants hoping to reach Europe via Libya and the Mediterranean, according to the UN Organization for Migration (IOM).
The north African nation has one of the world’s highest rates of slavery — with about 465,000 people enslaved or one in 80 of its population — the 2018 Global Slavery Index found.
Children separated from their parents or traveling alone are at a high risk of exploitation, sexual and physical violence, said a spokeswoman for the IOM office in Sudan.
“In many cases these children are exposed to forced unpaid labor including street begging, gold mining, street vending, agriculture and other hazardous working conditions with limited access to education, protection and health services,” she said.
The IOM and partners have provided food and health care to the children rescued in Operation Sawiyan, who will later be asked about where and how they were trafficked, Interpol said.
The operation was part of a series of Interpol raids on human trafficking in North Africa and the Sahel that are largely focused on migration routes, according to Morris.
“Episodes like this one where you see the terrible conditions and exploitation ... show that you have to treat this particular crime issue right up and down the supply chain and not just at one end,” he said.


FBI eyes Deutsche Bank after money-laundering report

Updated 20 June 2019
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FBI eyes Deutsche Bank after money-laundering report

  • Questioned money transfers allegedly made by the Kushner Cos. to Russian individuals in 2016
  • Banks are required to report certain suspicious transactions to the Treasury Department, but have discretion over what triggers a report

NEW YORK: The FBI has reached out to a lawyer for a former Deutsche Bank employee who complained that the bank was ignoring suspicious transactions, including some involving Jared Kushner’s family real estate company.
The former Deutsche Bank anti-money laundering specialist, Tammy McFadden, told The New York Times in May that she had recommended that the bank alert the Treasury Department to a series of money transfers from the Kushner Cos. to Russian individuals in 2016, but the bank decided against it.
McFadden’s lawyer, Brian McCafferty, told the Times in a story published Wednesday that he was recently contacted by the FBI about his client.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the Times story, other than to say it will cooperate with any “authorized investigations.”
Kushner Cos. released a statement saying “any allegations regarding Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Kushner Companies which involved money laundering is completely made up and totally false.”
McCafferty did not respond to messages left by The Associated Press.
Banks are required to report certain suspicious transactions to the Treasury Department, but have discretion over what triggers a report. Transactions are typically vetted at several levels at banks and many are ultimately not sent to Treasury. Financial institutions reported more than 2 million suspicious transactions last year. Most such reports don’t lead to a criminal case.
In a report in the Times in May, McFadden criticized the bank’s practices, saying it had a pattern of rejecting proposed suspicious activity reports involving prized clients.
Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, was CEO of Kushner Cos before the election, but stepped down afterward to become one of Trump’s senior advisers.
The Times in May also reported, citing anonymous former and current bank employees, that several transactions involving President Donald Trump’s company were flagged at the bank as suspicious but were not passed on to the Treasury Department.
The Trump Organization did not respond to email and text messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Two congressional committees have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank documents as part their investigations into President Donald Trump and his company. Deutsche Bank has been one for the few banks willing to lend to Trump after a series of corporate bankruptcies and defaults starting in the early 90s.
Trump had sued Deutsche Bank to stop the subpoenas, but a judge in May ruled against the president.