Online Toolkit to Combat Trafficking in Persons

Chapter 5 - Law Enforcement and Prosecution


Tool 5.1 Overview of challenges in investigating human trafficking

Tool 5.2 Snapshot of investigative methodologies

Tool 5.3 Reactive investigation

Tool 5.4 Proactive investigation

Tool 5.5 Disruptive investigation

Tool 5.6 Parallel financial investigation

Tool 5.7 Seizure of assets and confiscation of proceeds of crime

Tool 5.8 Special investigative techniques

Tool 5.9 Crime scene investigations

Tool 5.10 Joint investigation teams

Tool 5.11 Border control measures

Tool 5.12 Intelligence gathering and exchange


Tool 5.13 Prosecution of traffickers


Tool 5.14 Seeking the collaboration of offenders

Tool 5.15 Guidelines on human rights and human trafficking in the context of law enforcement

Tool 5.16 Protecting victims during investigations

Tool 5.17 Witness protection

Tool 5.18 Witness protection during and after the prosecution and trial

Tool 5.19 Special considerations relating to the protection of child witnesses


Tool 5.20 Training tools for law enforcement offices and the judiciary

In order for law enforcement responses to be effective, they must be holistic, taking into consideration a range of issues, from the rescue of victims and the protection of witnesses to prosecution of traffickers. The challenges involved must be understood before they can be effectively responded to (see Tool 5.1).

In effect, there are three major investigative approaches, which are not mutually exclusive (see Tool 5.2):

Parallel financial investigations (see Tool 5.6), the seizure of assets and the confiscation of the proceeds of crime (see Tool 5.7), special investigative techniques (see Tool 5.8) and the investigation of crime scenes (see Tool 5.9) can also produce appreciable results, in particular when these methods are applied systematically by joint investigation teams (see Tool 5.10). Given that trafficking in persons often takes place across borders, law enforcement measures must also be cross-border (see Tool 5.11).

Efficient law enforcement and prosecution strategies are based on solid intelligence and on effective exchange of intelligence between agencies and between jurisdictions, requiring different types of intelligence to be gathered (see Tool 5.12). The role played by prosecutors during the process of bringing traffickers to justice must be guided by high standards of conduct and active participation (see Tool 5.13). There are many issues involved in dealing with trafficked victims, witnesses of trafficking and traffickers themselves. Often it becomes necessary to obtain the collaboration of offenders in order to secure an advantage (see Tool 5.14). Investigators and prosecutors have a duty to respect and protect the rights of victims of trafficking. Tool 5.15 and Tool 5.16 describe this duty and address the need to ensure the safety of victims during an investigation.

Direct witnesses of a crime are always a crucial element of a successful prosecution and offering them effective protection is an essential condition for effective intervention. The protection of witnesses is addressed in Tool 5.17 and Tool 5.18. The special considerations which apply to the protection of child witnesses are discussed in Tool 5.19.

Lastly, training resources for building law enforcement capacity against trafficking in persons are recommended in Tool 5.20.

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