Melbourne — Improving poor people’s access to loans would make them less vulnerable to trafficking and slavery, a global expert said on Friday, as a new international commission met in Sydney. The commission was set up last year to enlist the international financial sector in the fight to end modern slavery, one of the UN’s key global goals. It aims to fight money-laundering by traffickers, promote ethical investment and offer better opportunities to people vulnerable to slavery. “People who don’t have access to safe and reliable financial services end up working with unsafe lenders and creditors and unsafe labour markets to get access to income,” said James Cockayne, an expert on organised crime who is on the commission. “Improving their access to safe financial services would be a way to drive down the risk factors of modern slavery,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. About 25-million people worldwide are estimated to be victims of forced labour — found on farms, factories, ...

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