Delivering Results—Inside and Out—in the Fight Against Human Crime

Client Situation

In 2021, The Knoble, a non-profit global network of experts with a passion for preventing financial crime that harms the vulnerable, approached North Highland with two specific and complex challenges. Our pro-bono client sought to:

  1. Map the global human trafficking ecosystem with a focus on how money flows through the system.
  2. Design a plan for engaging meaningfully with its member base to achieve its mission of preventing financial crimes against the vulnerable.

Our Approach: Designing a Scalable Process for Combating Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a complex problem without a clear solution. Stakeholders in the fight against this crime—such as financial institutions, government entities, law enforcement, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—are heavily siloed, and before now, no one has attempted to synthesize the information each of these stakeholders possesses into a singular view.

North Highland conducted extensive research to develop a broad understanding of human trafficking and the over 25 typologies used to describe its forms. After this research and discussions with global experts, we narrowed our focus to mapping one specific typology of forced labor and sex trafficking: Illicit Massage Businesses (IMB).

We continued our research, interviewing subject matter experts from federal law enforcement, prosecutors, financial institutions, and NGOs. This effort allowed us to capture and synthesize detailed actions and channels of money flow from victim recruitment through exploitation and laundering of illicit funds.

As the project progressed, we completed multiple rounds of iteration and ideation to develop a scalable framework that could be applied to other human trafficking typologies.

Value Delivered

In collaboration with North Highland, The Knoble gained a comprehensive view of the IMB ecosystem and financial flows that can be used to drive effective education and strategic decision-making. This tool is helping advance collaboration and data sharing between financial institutions, government entities, law enforcement, and NGOs. It’s also refining the red flags financial institutions use to detect human trafficking behavior. Finally, it serves as a framework to map all human trafficking typologies and is a force multiplier in the fight against human trafficking.

Our Approach: Driving Member Engagement

The Knoble also sought to address an internal challenge.

The network, which launched as a global NGO in 2019, was growing quickly. Through its high-level connections in the federal government, law enforcement, and global financial institutions, the size of its member base expanded beyond expectations—and did so more quickly than anticipated. The network did not have a focused plan for engaging meaningfully with all of its members to further its mission of preventing financial crimes against the vulnerable. The Knoble needed a partner with the capacity and expertise to design a future-state member engagement strategy and experience roadmap.

To deliver on this need, we took a standard design-thinking approach, beginning with a current-state assessment. We conducted qualitative and quantitative research to better understand members and develop needs-based member personas and persona-specific jobs to be done. Leveraging these outputs, we ideated over multiple working sessions and constructed a prioritization model to help the client rank concepts based on member value, business value, and persona impact.

Value Delivered

Using the prioritized concepts, we developed a detailed 18-month experience roadmap across three targeted time horizons. The Knoble has seized the initiative to maximize its resources by identifying, prioritizing, and deploying them against the most promising engagement opportunities. The strategy and roadmap are embedding member-centricity into our client’s mindset and operational capabilities.

With an engagement strategy and experience roadmap, The Knoble is now able to effectively engage its members and instill a broader and deeper understanding of its mission. With an engaged member base, The Knoble can more effectively and efficiently deliver on its strategic initiatives. The network has also strengthened the power of its stakeholder network involved in the fight against financial crime.