Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (MA-09) recently led a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) through India and Morocco. The other members of the CODEL included Congressman Bob Inglis (R-SC) and several Congressional Oversight Committee Investigators. The Delegation also visited Syria, Israel, and the Gaza Strip earlier in the trip.
As Co-Chairman of the House Task Force on Terrorist Financing and Proliferation, Lynch conducted a series of coordinated meetings in both India and Morocco to assess those countries' progress in combating terrorist financing and money laundering activities.
Specifically, Lynch met with officials from the Federal Reserve Bank of India, including Chief General Manager Vinjay Baijal, to discuss the extent of the Bank's coordination and cooperation with India's Financial Intelligence Unit, the government agency responsible for tracking, monitoring, and enforcement in relation to illegal and suspicious financial transactions. Lynch also met with Dr. K Ramakrishnan, Chief Executive of the Indian Banks' Association, as well as various public and private sector Indian banking representatives to exchange information regarding the processing and reporting of Suspicious Transaction Reports and Cash Transaction Reports.
Congressman Lynch also reviewed security measures at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly Victoria Station, in Mumbai and visited the Jewish Hostel, Chabad House, as well as the Taj Hotel, all sites of recent militant attacks. The Delegation briefly paid respects at several memorials erected after the attacks.
While in Mumbai, Lynch also met with leadership from the Catholic Relief Services and Stree Mukti Sanghatana (Women's Liberation Organization), a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the plight of women and children ragpickers in Mumbai. An informal, yet vital, part of Indian society, the ragpickers collect and recycle household waste under difficult conditions for "donations" between $2 to $4 per day. It is estimated there are approximately 20,000 ragpickers in the city of Mumbai, 85% are women, many of them widows or single parents, while the remainder are young children.
A former union president of the Ironworkers Union, Lynch’s visit was targeted to show support for the ragpickers union and to bring attention to their demands for uniform wages and protective gloves and masks to perform their work.
“While there has been progress in some sectors of Indian society in the last decade, there remains a significant part of the Indian population that is desperately poor. Despite the heartbreaking situation and enormous challenges, these women are determined to improve their situation and to demand justice and equality for themselves and their children. I think we have a moral responsibility to support them.”
While in Rabat, Morocco, Lynch met with Mr. Abdellatif Loudiyi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and Hassane Alaoui Abdellaoui, President of Morocco's newly-established Financial Intelligence Unit.
Notably, Lynch emphasized the importance of Morocco's coordination with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Unites States' own Financial Intelligence Unit in stopping terrorist financing.