South-Eastern Europe supported in strengthening criminal justice response to trafficking in persons

4-6 April 2023, Skopje, North Macedonia: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe Secretariat (PCC SEE), with funding from the Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs of Austria, held a regional workshop on enhancing criminal justice response to address evidential issues for investigating cases of trafficking in persons (TIP) in South-Eastern Europe.

Participants included practitioners from PCC SEE Contracting Parties, including Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia as well as representatives from regional and international organizations and experts from Austria who were invited to contribute.

The workshop was aimed to enhance the ability of practitioners in the region to investigate and prosecute TIP and engage in effective cross-border cooperation by promoting a common understanding of the forms and manifestations of TIP in the region. The workshop particularly focused on evidence gathering in TIP cases, the importance of victim interviews and understanding the behavior and traumas present in such situations. It also recognized the need for obtaining hard evidence in addition to victims’ statements for the successful prosecution of TIP cases.

Using the UNODC Human Trafficking Case Law Database and the Case Digest on Evidential Issues in TIP cases, a regional training module was applied for the training and updated/improved with feedback from the participants, with the use of case studies, simulation videos, and evidence in digital form as training aids.

The workshop further contributed towards building the response of South-Eastern Europe to trafficking in persons and enhancing regional cooperation.