Experts have worked on Financial Investigations linked to the fight against THB

Last week, Euromed Police facilitated a 3-day interactive capacity-building action for law enforcement professionals coming from all over the Euro-Mediterranean region on the premises of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) Training Academy of Aramoun.

After the first exchange related to Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) in conjunction with Facilitated Irregular Immigration (FII) supported by criminal networks as part of the priority areas which took in place in Italy in December 2017, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces offered to host an action focusing on the financial investigations related to THB and FII.

According to the Europol SOCTA 2017, THB is used for three main purposes: labour exploitation, sexual exploitation, and child trafficking, and as such THB remains one of the top priorities of both the EU and the South Partner Countries. In addition, as it has been pointed out in the Euromed Police Strategy and other analysis documents, financial investigations are still not yielding sufficiently promising results in this field.

It is in this framework, and in order to promote the overall efficiency of such investigations, that ISF authorities and Euromed Police have elaborated a joint training event dedicated to address some of the key challenges encountered while conducting such investigations. To this end, some specific areas of cooperation within the field of financial investigations, such as money laundering, financial crimes and asset recovery police actions were discussed in great detail, as well as particular tools and methods relating to the uncovering of Ukash, Hawalla transfers and omnibus accounts.

As a valuable addition to the diverse agenda of the training event, dog’s squads from the Spanish National Police and Guardia Civil demonstrated the relevance of using police dogs in the detection of cash. The Lebanese hosts also shared their extensive experience in terms of joint actions with labour authorities and invited representatives from ABAAD and UN agencies who reflected on their first-hand experience in assisting victims of THB and FII which constituted an important input to the training.

The participating experts will long remember the excellent working conditions in which this action took place, as the perfect organisation, the facilities and the hospitality provided by the Lebanese hosts generated the conditions for high quality exchanges.
In order to make a long-lasting impact and tangible results from this action, the conclusions and lessons learned will be provided on the platform of the Euromed Knowledge Base hosted by the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), where the Euromed Police Mobility Scheme Coordinator Ms. Katalin Berenyi is now deployed on a permanent basis.