OSCE simulation-based training in combating human trafficking along migration routes

The OSCE simulation-based exercise for anti-trafficking practitioners across the OSCE region concluded today in Vicenza, Italy.

More than 40 professionals from six countries attended the week-long training course. Participants came from Austria, Canada, Denmark, Georgia, Germany and Spain, representing law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, social service providers, civil society organizations and asylum agencies. They worked together in national multi-agency teams for the first time to foster interdisciplinary co-operation.

“What I have seen at the simulation exercise this week leaves me confident about OSCE’s ability to deliver quality support to our participating States and our region,” said Helga Maria Schmid, OSCE Secretary General during her visit in Vicenza. “Our Organization strives to foster co-operation – States working together to face common challenges. Today I saw that co-operation in action, with concrete activities helping countries work together to combat crime and protect human rights on the ground.”

The simulation exercise enhanced the participants’ capacity to effectively identify and protect victims of trafficking among migrants and refugees, and to investigate and prosecute their traffickers. Particular emphasis was given to the close co-ordination between relevant governmental and non-governmental organizations, to meet the protection needs of victims and support law enforcement efforts. Participants tackled realistic scenarios working within their multi-agency teams on cases of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation, following a victim-centered and human rights based approach.

“Participants in our exercises consistently point to the professional benefits of this training, including gaining a greater understanding of the roles other groups play in combating human trafficking, as well as networking with anti-trafficking practitioners from other countries,” said Valiant Richey, OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.

Since 2016, when the OSCE project “Combating Human Trafficking along Migration Routes” began, the Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings has implemented nine simulation-based exercises involving 570 practitioners from 68 countries, including 55 participating States, seven Partners for Co-operation and six States from West and Central Africa.

The project was financed by Italy, Austria, Ireland, Cyprus, France, Monaco and Andorra, and implemented in partnership with the Carabinieri Corps, the Centre of Excellence for Stability Police Units in Vicenza, Italy, the Italian State Police, Guardia di Finanza, the University of Padova, and independent experts.