A new tech partnership has been created to help combat human trafficking and protect the world’s most vulnerable citizens.


human trafficking

The collaboration between global non-profit network The Knoble, and transformation consultancy North Highland aims to map financial flows supporting the trade of people across international borders, and put together a long-term member engagement strategy to undermine the illicit activity.

Carrying out primary research with experts from federal law enforcement, prosecutors, financial institutions, and NGOs, North Highland has created an ecosystem map for the Illicit Massage Business (IMB) category of human trafficking.

The resulting framework provides a thorough picture of the actions and financial flows involved—from victim recruitment through exploitation, to the laundering of illicit funds, and back to the criminal organisations across the globe. It offers a significant step forward in promoting collaboration and data sharing among financial institutions, law enforcement, prosecutors, and NGOs.

Ian Mitchell, Founder and Board Chair of The Knoble, said:

“Collaborating with North Highland means a lot to our organization and the work we’re doing with our network to protect the vulnerable populations financially exploited by criminal organizations.”

The framework should help refine the red flags that financial institutions use to identify IMB victims and operators. It will also be used to map all human trafficking categories, acting as a force multiplier in the global fight against this organised crime.

Jill Jacques, Global Financial Services Lead at North Highland, said:

“Stakeholders in the fight against human trafficking are extremely siloed.

“As a result of our work together, The Knoble now has a holistic view of the IMB ecosystem and financial flows that can be used to drive effective education and strategic decision-making. This level of visibility could go a long way in dismantling the financial business model of criminals,” Jacques added.

In parallel with this work, North Highland performed qualitative research to cultivate a deeper sense of member empathy. This required needs-based member personas and persona-specific jobs-to-be-done. The results informed an ideation session which identified a variety of opportunities to drive member activation, engagement, and collaboration to support strategic initiatives.

By applying a bespoke prioritisation model, North Highland was able to deliver an 18-month member experience roadmap across three strategic time horizons.

Ian Mitchell said:

“Working together, we developed a new model of member engagement that will transform how we equip and engage our members. This enables us to launch and mobilize further initiatives, focus more strongly on meeting our members’ needs, and develop a model that will allow us to significantly grow our stakeholder network.”