The Week Of: January 6, 2020

This week’s news and stories of interest to the AML community. If you prefer a news roundup sent to you, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Thailand hit by record number of human trafficking cases

Thailand rescued more than 1,800 victims of human trafficking in 2019, nearly three times the 622 rescued in 2018.

According to the Guardian, Thailand has ramped up its efforts to tackle trafficking in recent years. Those identified as trafficking victims are entitled to stays at shelters and financial compensation, as well as legal aid and job opportunities.

Still, activists fear the growing number of victims might struggle to receive individualized care, and question whether all those deemed “rescued” were trafficked rather than smuggled, which means entering another country illegally and may be consensual.

The country is home to more than 610,000 modern-day slaves, about 1 in 113 of its population of 69 million.

Read more at The Guardian.

Regulations tighten in EU as 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive comes into force

On January 10, the European Union’s laws to fight money laundering and terrorist financing will be further enhanced when the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) takes effect.

The 5AMLD introduces regulations to cryptocurrencies, lowers the customer verification requirement for prepaid cards from €250 to €150, and increases scrutiny of customers from high-risk countries. New customer identification requirements will also take effect for the art community and other businesses dealing with high-value goods.

Perhaps most notably, it requires greater transparency by making beneficial ownership registries more easily accessible by the public. EU member states must also publicly release a list made up of prominent politically exposed public functions to make PEPs easier to identify.

EU members had 18 months to transpose the 5AMLD into law after its adoption in June 2018 after a slew of money laundering scandals at European banks and terrorism incidents.

Read more at the VinciWorks blog.

US lawmakers introduce cryptocurrency bill

A group of US lawmakers introduced a new bill in December called the “Cryptocurrency Act of 2020.” The purpose of the bill is to clarify the regulatory frameworks surrounding digital assets.

Crypto regulations are notoriously vague and scattershot on a global scale and the bill is designed to sharpen their focus, at least in the US. The Financial Action Task Force released its own guidance for crypto regulation in June.

The bill defines three types of digital assets: crypto-commodities, -securities, and -currencies, and tasks the SEC, FinCEN, and CFTC with their regulation and enforcement.

Read more at Bitcoinist.