Building trans-regional partnerships in the fight against trafficking in human beings and organised crime

Project description

Transnational organised crime is a major threat to human security, affecting the social, economic, political and cultural development of societies worldwide. Human trafficking is a global phenomenon resulting in gross violations of human rights and occurs across and within national borders.

To tackle these challenges the European Union under its Instrument for Stability funded a new pilot project Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings – Phase 1 (THB/IFS/1) focused on fighting organised crime and trafficking in human beings in Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Turkey. The first phase of the project was implemented from January 2013 - September 2014 by a consortium led by ICMPD in partnership with FIIAPP and FEI. The projects aimed to strengthen institutional responses to human trafficking and organised crime by promoting and assisting information sharing and regional coordination on trafficking in human beings and enhancing national, regional and trans-regional law enforcement cooperation. 

The project focused on three objectives: 

·         to improve systems of data collectionanalysis and exchange at the national and transnational level to increase knowledge on the scale and nature of trafficking in human beings

·         to facilitate information sharing and enhance coordination on trafficking in human beings at the regional level

·         to enhance national and transnational law enforcement cooperation and the capacity of a broad range of stakeholders to address and fight the crime of trafficking in human beings more effectively.

The project applied a simple but strategically interlinked three-step approach to enhance counter-trafficking measures in the project countries. Component 1 (data / intelligence gathering and analysis) aimed to improve the knowledge-base in all project countries. Component 2 provided a platform for systematic information sharing within and between the four project countries, while Component 3 aimed to enhance the capacity of stakeholders (frontline agencies, law enforcement, prosecutors, etc.) to identify trafficking situations and offenders.

The current activities implemented under Phase 2 of the action build upon the outcomes of this phase, as well as replicating similar initiatives in Albania and Pakistan.

Assessment of project results and conclusions

Phase 1 of the project achieved the following results:

·         Improved systems of data collection, analysis and exchange at the national and transnational level, building upon already existing initiatives and structures in the project countries and the region in general, increasing the knowledge on the scale and nature of trafficking in human beings;

·         Facilitated information sharing and enhanced coordination on trafficking in human beings at the regional level;

·         Enhanced national and transnational law enforcement cooperation and increased capacity of a broad range of stakeholders to address and fight the crime of trafficking in human beings more effectively;

·         Assessment analysis provided guidance for future policy and strategy development and highlighted training gaps to be addressed in Phase 2;



Component 1: Assessment and improvement of currently existing data collection systems

Assessment missions to the project countries

The assessment included the following methodological elements:

  • Desk research;
  • Interviews with key stakeholders;
  • Assessment of existing databases, where feasible;
  • General mapping and country assessments of existing THB data collection systems and data analysis;
  • Fact-finding missions to assess the state of data gathering systems in each project country, mapping the relevant national stakeholders and arranging a series of meetings with selected stakeholders and potential project partners;
  • Round-table discussions with key stakeholders in each project country.
  • Joint stakeholder workshops in each country;
  • Transnational workshop in Istanbul to verify the findings and discuss potential interventions.

See a summary of findings of the Assessment of Data Collection Systems

See the conclusions of the First Transnational Workshop on the Assessment of Data Collection Systems


Component 2: Platforms for exchange of knowledge and information

Transnational workshop for law enforcement officials from each participating country held in Sarajevo

The concept of Proactive Investigations was introduced to the participants with the objective of highlighting that investigations and prosecutions related to THB should not always be dependent upon the complaint and/or testimony of a victim of trafficking.

On 8–9 April 2014, a transnational workshop for law enforcement personnel was held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and gathered the anti-trafficking coordinators and law enforcement representatives from Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Turkey. The workshop aimed at sharing existing practices and lessons learned with regard to the investigation of trafficking cases and equipped the participants with practical tools they can use in their daily work on handling trafficking cases. 

In parallel with the workshop, the anti-trafficking coordinators of Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Turkey held a separate meeting and discussed the possibilities of improving cooperation as well as enhancing the capacities to address and fight the crime of trafficking in human beings more effectively. 
More information about this event can be found below.

Agenda /  Conclusions / Evaluation Report

Presentations Christopher Ansell / Alain Birot / Brigitte Stevkovski


Transnational workshop for judges and prosecutors from each participating country

On 45 December 2013, the Transnational Workshop for Judges and Prosecutors on Combating Trafficking for Labour Exploitation: Identifying Victims, Prosecuting and Sentencing Offenders was held at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. The objectives of the workshop were: 

  • to provide the participants with more knowledge on the topic of trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation
  • to discuss existing practices in the prosecution of trafficking cases and share lessons learned
  • to expand the network of professionals dealing with the issue at hand
  • in an interactive setting, to equip the participants with practical tools they can use in their daily work in handling trafficking cases.

The following conclusions were reached and recommendations elaborated:

·         Prosecutors and judges should make use of all available tools for prosecution, not only focusing on anti-trafficking legislation;

·         Utilise available lists of indicators for the identification of trafficked persons and build up your own, relevant to your country situation, legislation and jurisprudence;  

·         Continue, tailor-make, and institutionalise capacity building activities for judges and prosecutors;

·         Consider enhancing transnational cooperation through available channels, such as Eurojust, Europol, Transnational Referral Mechanisms (TRM), Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) etc; by creating bilateral channels for judicial cooperation that correspond to the needs of the countries involved; and by investing efforts and resources in cooperating across borders during all stages of working on a case.

The participants were judges and prosecutors working on cases of human trafficking from Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Turkey. Experts from Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom were invited to share their experience in prosecuting and judging cases of trafficking for labour exploitation.

Agenda  / List of participants 

Presentations: Mariyana Radeva Berket / Elisa Trossero / Bruno Lietaert / Peter van Hauwermeiren / Lars Stempher / Steve Harvey


Transnational workshop for NGOs from each participating country in Chisinau

On 31 October–1 November 2013, the transnational workshop for non-governmental organisations was held in Chisinau, Moldova. The workshop was attended by more than 20 participants comprising representatives of a variety of non-governmental organisations from the four project countries Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Turkey, as well as anti-trafficking experts and representatives from international agencies based in Moldova. The overall objective of the international workshop was to bring key NGO representatives from the countries together to discuss the following two themes: 

  • effective NGO collaboration at the national level and across borders
  • NGOs and law enforcement agencies/police.

The specific objectives of the workshop were:

  • to facilitate exchange of information and knowledge among NGO practitioners on combating THB and protecting victims' rights more effectively
  • to enhance national and transnational level collaboration among NGOs and cooperation between NGOs and law enforcement agencies/police
  • to share good practices and lessons learned regarding cooperation among NGOs across borders and cooperation between NGOs and enforcement agencies/police at the national level.

The following conclusions were reached and recommendations elaborated:

·         Need to improve systems for safe return and repatriation of victims of trafficking by enhancing coordination and collaboration systems among NGOs and by organising more joint transnational workshops to exchange information and enhance collaboration and coordination;

·         The NGO representatives recommended enhancing and formalising the collaboration between NGOs and law enforcement.

More information about the workshop can be found below

Agenda / Conclusions / List of participants / Photos


Artemida / Marco Bufo / Aida Karabeg / Tatiana Fomina / Viorelia Rusu / Diana Muntean / Elif Ozer / Ana Revenco / Anders Lisborg


Component 3: Targeted training

A training needs assessment was carried out to identify specific gaps and needs in each country specific to:

a) thematic areas with regard to trafficking in human beings

b) geographical regions

c) professional groups that have not been sufficiently or adequately targeted by training against trafficking in human beings in participating countries of the THB/IFS/1 project.

The findings of the Training Needs Assessment were used to provide suggestions for training of trainers planned in each participating country to address the identified gaps with regard to thematic areas, geographical coverage and professional groups, and suggest innovative and effective training methods to be used in the training of trainers.

After country-based assessments, training curricula/modules, available also for future training, were developed. Then, Training of Trainers workshop and a THB awareness workshop for law enforcement, government agencies and NGOs were organised. 

Read more about the results of the Country Training Needs Assessments (pdf)

Azerbaijan / Bosnia and HerzegovinaMoldovaTurkey



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