FinCEN Issues Alert on Human Smuggling Along the Southwest Border of the United States

Immediate Release

WASHINGTON—The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an alert today to better support financial institutions in detecting financial activity related to human smuggling along the southwest border of the United States. The alert provides trends, typologies, and red flag indicators to help financial institutions better identify and report suspicious transactions potentially related to such activity.

“Illicit actors, including transnational criminal organizations, engage in human smuggling activity at the U.S. southwest border to reap illicit financial gains, and they do so without regard for the well-being or physical safety of those involved,” said FinCEN Acting Director Himamauli Das. “Financial institutions need to know that their vigilance and prompt Bank Secrecy Act reporting matters—it aids investigations tied to human smuggling and transnational organized crime, and can ultimately save lives.”

Human smuggling is one of the eight “Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism National Priorities” identified by FinCEN, in coordination with its interagency partners, pursuant to the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020. Illicit actors seeking to make a profit by smuggling migrants across the southwest border have exploited the increasing volume of migration activity. Recent events involving the death of migrants attempting to cross into the United States illustrate the dangers associated with human smuggling and how smuggling networks exploit human beings for profit. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center, human smuggling along the southwest border of the United States generates an estimated $2 billion to $6 billion in yearly revenue for these illicit actors. In support of ongoing initiatives by the U.S. Government to combat human smuggling, today’s alert builds upon FinCEN’s 2020 and 2014 human smuggling and human trafficking advisories, while providing information specifically related to human smuggling occurring along the southwest border of the United States.

Financial institutions with questions about the content of today’s alert should contact the FinCEN Regulatory Support Section at


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