The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) region is witnessing massive movements of people caused by on-going conflicts, instability and lack of economic opportunity in neighboring regions.
These “mixed-migration flows” are comprised of refugees and economic migrants who are highly vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking. More than one million people came to Europe in 2015, and of this total, around 10,000 migrant children have gone missing according to Europol data, with many believed to have been trafficked.
In a récent case, a Belgian-Romanian international operation carried out in Belgium has led to the arrest of four individuals suspected of trafficking young women for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
This successful operation follows an extensive and complex cross-border investigation that was conducted simultaneously in both Member States. Investigators targeted a Romanian organised criminal group (OCG) actively involved in trafficking Romanian individuals for the purpose of sexual exploitation in Belgium.
As part of its role in addressing this issue, the OSCE developed a training project called Combating Trafficking along Migration Routes to enhance the capacity of participating States and Partners for Co-operation to rapidly identify victims and effectively prosecute traffickers, thus strengthening the overall criminal justice response along these routes.
During the next two years, the OSCE will conduct three simulation-based learning exercises for some 200 law enforcement officials, prosecutors, labour inspectors and other key stakeholders. The exercises will be based on realistic, expert-developed scenarios to simulate cases of labour and sexual exploitation among migrants, including child victims and take place at the state-of-the-art training facilities of the Centre of Excellence for the Stability Police Units in Vicenza, Italy.
Following the training project, the OSCE will publish a handbook on how to conduct simulation based training exercises on human trafficking. Results and additional follow-up action will be discussed at a final event in Vienna in 2017.