North Highland Unites with The Knoble in the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Using design thinking to transform an industry

Nov. 9, 2021 – ATLANTA - Leading change and transformation consultancy North Highland recently collaborated with The Knoble, a global non-profit network of experts working to stop human trafficking. The pro bono engagement focused on using design thinking to bring about two key outcomes: the financial flows mapping of the global human trafficking ecosystem, and the design of a long-term member engagement strategy.

Carrying out primary research with experts from federal law enforcement, prosecutors, financial institutions, and NGOs, North Highland created a first-of-its-kind 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 organizations across the globe. It offers a significant step forward in promoting collaboration and data sharing among financial institutions, law enforcement, prosecutors, and NGOs.

“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,” said Ian Mitchell, Founder and Board Chair of The Knoble.

On top of this, the framework will help refine the red flags that financial institutions use to identify IMB victims and operators. Finally, it can be used to map all human trafficking categories, acting as a force multiplier in the global fight against this organized crime.

“Stakeholders in the fight against human trafficking are extremely siloed,” said Jill Jacques, Global Financial Services Lead at North Highland. “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. We’re glad to have worked with The Knoble to exemplify what it means to truly transform an industry.”

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 with The Knoble’s leaders, which identified a variety of opportunities to drive member activation, engagement, and collaboration to support their strategic initiatives. By applying a bespoke prioritization model, North Highland delivered a meticulous 18-month member experience roadmap across three strategic time horizons.

“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,” said Mitchell.

About The Knoble
Founded in 2019, we are a non-profit network of experts with a passion for preventing financial crime that harms the vulnerable around the world, including prevention of human trafficking, elder abuse, scams, and child exploitation.

Led by subject matter experts in fraud, financial crime, financial services, data and technology, and other professions, The Knoble’s cross-industry initiatives in the public, private and charitable sectors create an ongoing, system-wide effort to detect and prevent human crime and bring about systemic change. For more information, visit