Grant facilitates extensive research into human trafficking, money laundering, and corruption

Martijn Scheltema

The COMCRIM Project (Combat Crime), which facilitates research into the best way to combat human trafficking, money laundering, and corruption, has received a grant of 2,5 million euros from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). Martijn Scheltema, Professor of Private Law at Erasmus School of Law, is part of this consortium. He will conduct research into how financial data can help recognise human trafficking and extortion in supply chains to improve the human rights due diligence in supply chains.

The COMCRIM project aims to smartly and comprehensively combat crimes that undermine the rule of law. The project is a public-private partnership in the field of finance and artificial intelligence; amongst the participants are the University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, Maastricht University, the Erasmus University Rotterdam, banks, the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service (OM), and Statistics Netherlands (CBS). The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the studies of Law, Criminology, Computer Sciences, and others.

The project aims to detect undetected crimes and victims to find crime patterns and discern crime networks in new data sources like banking records and open sources. With the help of these new data sources, trends in human trafficking and financial technology are utilized to fight crime.

Scheltema’s focus will be on developing a toolset to provide better insights into human trafficking and modern slavery in international supply chains. Companies increasingly have to do their due diligence regarding human rights and working conditions, but, at the same time, companies often have too little knowledge of what is going on in their supply chains. Using artificial intelligence and financial data of banks, such knowledge could be gathered. This project is linked to a PhD candidate. This PhD will be coordinated by a postdoc.

Scheltema is excited about the opportunities this grant offers: “This means that an area that is currently still very untransparent, where companies are repeatedly surprised by what happens in their chains, can be won, and people can act on it. This knowledge is also very relevant for obligations imposed by existing and forthcoming legislation.”

The project is expected to be carried out in five years. The first results are expected early next year.

More information

Click here for more information on the COMCRIM-project.

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