Erbil, Iraq 23 March 2023 – The rise of technology has led to a surge in the use of the internet and digital platforms by human traffickers and smugglers. However, this same technology can be leveraged by law enforcement and criminal justice actors to proactively combat these crimes through open-source intelligence investigations. By using technology to shed light on trafficking and smuggling networks, enhance prosecutions with digital evidence, and provide support services to survivors, the fight to combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and the Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) can be bolstered.
In line with these efforts, UNODC, under the Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT – Asia and the Middle East), conducted a five-day Open-Source Intelligence Investigation Training (OSINT) in Erbil from 12 to 16 March 2023. The event builds on the successful participation of law enforcement in OSINT training in Bangladesh from 19 to 22 February 2023 and a workshop delivered on cyber-enabled human trafficking to members of the GLO.ACT Women’s Network on 9 March 2023.
The training aimed to improve and increase the knowledge of police and internal security forces (Assayish) in investigating human trafficking and migrant smuggling cases using open-source intelligence.
The training was led by John Blake, a cybercrime consultant, who worked closely with UNODC staff to deliver a comprehensive curriculum to 18 (males) law enforcement officers. It focused on various topics, including planning open-source internet investigations, digital footprints, evidence capture and handling, basic and advanced web searching, investigating websites and website traces, investigating emails and messaging services, and more. The training was a mix of theory and practical sessions, giving participants opportunities to apply their newly acquired skills.
The Ministry of Interior and the General Directorate of Assayish of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) both expressed their gratitude to UNODC for organizing the training, recognizing its positive impact on their staff in countering both crimes. The participants were highly engaged in the exercises and left with a newfound confidence in their abilities to apply the techniques and skills they learned in their daily work.
The OSINT training was an excellent opportunity for police and Assayish forces in the KRI to enhance their skills and knowledge in proactively investigating the crimes. The training will help them to stay ahead of criminals who use technology to carry out their illegal activities and ultimately contribute to the safety and security of the region.
Looking ahead, UNODC will provide the next OSINT training under GLO.ACT in Pakistan in May 2023.
The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants – Asia and the Middle East (GLO.ACT-Asia and the Middle East) is a four-year 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) in up to five countries: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (Afghanistan), Islamic Republic of Iran (I.R. of Iran), Republic of Iraq (Iraq), Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Pakistan). GLO.ACT-Bangladesh is a parallel initiative also financed by the EU and implemented with IOM.
The project builds on a global community of practice set in motion in GLO.ACT 2015-2019 and assists governmental authorities and civil society organizations in targeted, innovative, and demand-driven interventions: sustaining effective strategy and policy development, legislative review and harmonization, capability development, and regional and trans-regional cooperation. The project also provides direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and protection mechanisms. The project is fully committed to mainstreaming Human Rights and Gender Equality considerations across all of its activities.
The project is funded by the European Union
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