A dedicated team of first responders in Catania, Italy, shared their practices in tackling trafficking of migrants through a multi-agency approach that combines effective investigative measures with victims’ protection, at an OSCE workshop held in this Sicilian port town on 11 October.
The event was the final in a series of OSCE workshops leading to the development of guidelines for better co-ordinated and victim-centred identification of human trafficking cases among mixed migration flows.
Co-organized by the Office of the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and the 2018 Italian OSCE Chairmanship, the workshop took place with the active support and participation of Prosecutor Lina Trovato, who co-ordinates the day-to-day operations of the local team of anti-trafficking practitioners, as well as by Heracles Moskoff, National Anti-trafficking Co-ordinator of Greece.
“The consultations we have had so far with a wide range of practitioners from across the OSCE region reaffirm the need for a coherent, multi-disciplinary response to human trafficking of migrants, starting with the reception and identification phase,” said OSCE Acting Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Valiant Richey. “Our job is to elevate role model practices such as the one in Catania, and make them accessible to all our participating States and Partners for Co-operation so that multiagency approaches become uniform and widely adopted”.
Participants included representatives from law enforcement, migration agencies, public social services and civil society organizations providing assistance to victims. Particular emphasis was placed on the safeguards required to effectively counter cases of child trafficking in mixed migration flows, including legal guardianship for the protection of unaccompanied minors.
Sharing his country’s most promising practices in adopting a more comprehensive anti-trafficking strategy, Heracles Moskoff noted how critical it is for presumed victims to have access to health and welfare services regardless of their willingness to co-operate in criminal proceedings.
The OSCE will publish its guidelines for victim-centred identification of human trafficking cases, which aim to prevent potential victims of trafficking from being exploited by trafficking syndicates, later this year.
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