Criminal justice practitioners in South-Eastern Europe address evidential issues and patterns in trafficking in persons cases

18-20 October 2022, Belgrade, Serbia: Trafficking in persons (TIP) is a victim-centred crime, complex by its nature and requiring a number of conditions to establish it. As a result, TIP cases present particularly complex evidential issues, many of which hinge upon the nature of this covert crime and the behavior of victims, whose testimony is often the central piece of evidence.

To explore this topic, UNODC jointly with the Police Cooperation Convention for SEE (PCC SEE) Secretariat and the Ministry of Interior of Serbia organised a regional workshop focusing on enhancing criminal justice response to address evidential issues for investigating TIP cases in South-Eastern Europe, which was financially supported by the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs of Austria.

Building on the results of the first regional workshop held on 18-20 of January 2022 and other capacity building activities delivered by UNODC in the region in 2022, this second regional workshop sought to tackle the identified evidential issues which represent the most complex and pressing problems that criminal justice systems face in investigating and prosecuting TIP.

Together with the PCC SEE Secretariat, UNODC convened law enforcement officers from 12 PCC SEE Contracting Parties, as well as representatives from the Joint Operational Office (JOO), Eurojust, Europol, Western Union, Meta and other TIP experts to discuss effective cross-border cooperation by promoting a common understanding of the forms and manifestations of TIP in SEE and how to effectively address them. The participants also learned about the importance of digital evidence in financial investigations that could lead to the ringleaders of a criminal network, as well as evidence that can be obtained from social media networks and private companies.

This activity contributes to SDG 16, particularly Target 16.2 to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.