THB at the heart of the 1st Euromed Police Exchange

Since its launch, the Euromed Police Project IV has identified several areas of priority which are laid down in the Euromed Police Strategy. One of these areas is the trafficking in human beings with the aim of labour and sexual exploitation, in conjunction with the irregular migration supported by criminal networks. This topic has been chosen for the First Euromed Police Exchange which took place in Italy between the 11th and 15th December 2017.

Throughout that week, police experts from seven South Partner Countries had the opportunity to get a real contact with operational police officers experienced in migration and THB issues, in the context of the migration crisis affecting countries on both shores of the Mediterranean Sea, with Italy being a favoured destination for immigrants.
The Italian Police Forces mobilised significant human and material resources to make a success of this action, which has seen the intervention of relevant services from the Guardia Di Finanza, Polizia di Stato and Caribinieri coordinated by the CEPOL national unit. This broad range of expertise enabled the participants to fully perceive the different aspects of an investigation on THB, while the presence of international actors such as Frontex, Europol, the IOM or the UNHCR showcased -if this were necessary- the regional nature of this priority area for Euromed Police.

Over the past few days, Euromed Police experts have namely been deployed at the operational Air and Sea Command of Pratica Di Mare, a military airport currently hosting the Coordination Centre of Frontex, or at Fiumicino airport. Starting from the Italian experience, they also exchanged on topics such as border documents checks and falsified documents, cyber investigations or asset recovery. Various dimensions of police in those fields daily work were covered, such as the different investigation techniques, evidence gathering and criminal analysis in the context of THB.

The working sessions were the scene of intense, sometimes passionate exchanges between the participating police officers who experience the effects of the migration crisis in their daily work.The immediate result of this exchange will be a direct contribution to the Euromed Knowledge Base through the form of manual on THB and irregular migration investigation. This manual will be applied for Euromed Police next capacity building actions already scheduled in March 2018.

The Euromed Police cycle, relying on sharing of analysis and capacity building, has now reached cruising speed: the project will mobilise its different networks in January and February, in addition to an exchange dedicated to Counter Terrorism taking place in Spain also in January.