GLO.ACT trials an interactive virtual reality investigation tool during workshop on TIP for organ removal 

Nagarkot, Nepal - 27 September 2018 - Under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants ( GLO.ACT), UNODC organized a training on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) for organ removal in Nepal from 11 to 14 September 2018. GLO.ACT received a specific request to support law enforcement efforts in investigating TIP for organ removal in medical/clinical settings. Given that very few investigations of this form of TIP have taken place across the globe, let alone in Nepal, there is a lack of familiarity for police investigators with the clinical surgery - hence there can be apprehension to investigate, or lack of investigative opportunities due to investigators not recognizing highly technical but vital pieces of evidence, such as anaesthetic logs, or other clinical information.  

In response to this request, GLO.ACT/UNODC has produced an interactive virtual reality investigation tool for law enforcement to better investigate TIP for organ removal. The raw footage was filmed in Nepal in May 2018, and a draft manual on crime scene investigation for this form of TIP was also developed. The first training in Nepal, using this manual, was a 'pretesting' of the material. This material is now being further adapted to the Nepali context based on the feedback received from this training.  It is expected that the tool will be rolled out all over Nepal in 2019.

The main tool used this training was thevirtual reality investigation tool that recreates a hospital capable of conducting kidney transplants. Additional material used during the training included relevant videos created by international media organisations. This virtual reality tool is globally the first for UNODC and, one available, other countries will be encouraged to use and adapt this tool and curriculum based on their local/national contexts.

A total of 26 participants, 19 males and 7 females, took part in the training. Most of the participants were police officers; six were prosecutors, the remainder were a mix of medical professionals and government policy officers. The experience and roles of all participants was relevant to the course. In most cases participants had experience of TIP but not on TIP for organ removal investigations. The session on the organ removal process (the example used was a kidney) was most appreciated by the participants. Holding this session enabled us to demystify the misconceptions regarding TIP for organ removal.

Two international experts, Mr. Dave Newton, UNODC Consultant and Retired Police Officer and Mr. Richard Campbell, Deputy Superintendent of Police Services Northern Ireland (PSNI), delivered the training. In terms of teaching methodologies, the trainers used a blend of behavioural and student focussed constructive methodologies. There were very few presentations in the traditional sense of the word i.e. text-based PowerPoints and lectures as most of the course was facilitated and highly interactive in nature. The training covered subjects such as the process of organ transplantation and TIP for organ removal and addressed some erroneous pre-conceptions. It also focused on illustrating technical matters, using appropriate interview techniques when interviewing TIP for organ removal victims, crime scene examination and special investigative techniques. There was also a basic pre/post course knowledge test.

The course revealed that the Nepalese police have a strong and very well developed investigative mindset. They clearly have experience in using several investigation techniques, including specialist techniques. It was not necessary to explain techniques in great detail, but trainers had to mainly focus on exposing officers to the challenges of TIP for organ removal.

Following the course, participants requested that UNODC develops a compact version of this course aimed at senior policy makers from diverse sectors. Overall, the feedback from this training was very encouraging and there are requests from all sectors (police, prosecutors, policy makers, medical professionals) to make this training available across all provinces of Nepal.

GLO.ACT Is a four-year (2015-2019) joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Binija Goperma, Programme Coordinator



Twitter: @glo_act