UNODC hosts fourth meeting on Enhancing Operational Capacity to Investigate and Disrupt Human Trafficking Activities in the Western Balkans

23 to 25 February 2009

The UNODC Regional Programme Office for South East Europe (RPOSEE) organized the fourth meeting of the Project: "Enhancing Operational Capacity to Investigate and Disrupt Human Trafficking Activities in the Western Balkans", which was held in Tirana, Albania from 23 to 25 February 2009.

This meeting followed other regional meetings that were held in Belgrade, Serbia on 15 November 2007, Ohrid, FYR of Macedonia on 6 and 7 May 2008, and Stubičke Toplice, Croatia on 17 and 18 November 2008.

The project is funded by the Governments of Germany and the United Kingdom.

The meeting was opened by Ms. Carla Ciavarella, UNODC Regional Programme Coordinator for South Eastern Europe, with the presence of Ms. Iva Zajmi, Deputy Minister of Interior and Anti-Human Trafficking National Coordinator of the Government of Albania, Ms. Sheila Bramley, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the United Kingdom in Albania, Mr. Rainer Harms, Liaison Officer, representing the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Albania.

The aim of the meeting, along with the overall objective of the project, was to strengthen the law enforcement cooperation of Western Balkan countries in the fight against human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.

The meeting aimed also at discussing the recommendations made at the previous meeting in Croatia and the draft Phase II of the Project with a view to finalising the Phase II Project Idea and subsequently seeking the formal backing of the proposed Project Beneficiary Countries.

Representatives of both the law enforcement and judiciary (prosecutors and judges) from each country/entity in South East Europe participating in the project attended the meeting.

The meeting also entailed the participation of representatives of third countries' national institutions (Ministries of Interior of Norway and Romania), and representatives of relevant International Organizations, such as the Migration, Asylum, Refugees Regional Initiative (MARRI), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Police Assistance Mission of the European Community to Albania (PAMECA), the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC),  the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative Regional Center for combating trans-border crime (SECI Center), the South Eastern Europe Prosecutors Advisory Group (SEEPAG), the South East Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA) etc.

UNODC staff highlighted the work of the Organization in the area of anti-human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, and the tools developed by UNODC in strengthening international and regional cooperation, such as the mutual legal assistance and extradition requests writer tools. The meeting was also an occasion to present the UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, which was launched on 12 February in New York.

At the end of the meeting, a new set of recommendations was produced with the aim of strengthening law enforcement and judicial cooperation in the region, in particular through the enhanced use of mutual legal assistance instruments.

Read the Recommendations resulting from the meeting.

Read the Meeting Report.