How can the Trafficking in Human Beings be better combated in BiH?

A training course on the latest trends in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to fight trafficking in human beings concluded on 31 May 2019 in Doboj, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The course was organized by the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), in co-operation with the Entity Judicial and Prosecutorial Training Centres (JPTCs), the OSCE Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

More than 20 prosecutors and judges from across Bosnia and Herzegovina took part in the event. The aim of the course was to increase the participants’ practical and theoretical knowledge of the variety and sophistication of ICT tools so that they are better equipped to combat trafficking in human beings. The prosecutors also discussed how to better co-ordinate between their offices and courts to ensure that ICT-facilitated human trafficking offences are understood and prosecuted effectively.

The training workshop focused on the use of technology to recruit, control and exploit victims of human trafficking, special techniques in online investigations, using evidence from the internet; and the use of digital forensics tools to track proceeds of crime on the internet.

The Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH, Ambassador Bruce G. Berton, emphasized the OSCE’s commitment to helping the country’s efforts in prosecuting and preventing the crime of human trafficking via the use of modern technology: “ICT is becoming a dominant topic among anti-trafficking partners. The misuse of technology by traffickers has a strong potential to increase the recruitment of victims and their exploitation. Therefore, improving the knowledge of anti-trafficking practitioners in this field is invaluable.”

“Today’s training is of particular relevance as it focuses on the use of ICT, which enables organized crime groups to commit crimes transnationally,” said Branko Peric, Judge of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Regional Attaché, Katie Bay, stated that her organization was proud to join forces with the OSCE Mission to BiH, the Judicial and Prosecutorial Training Centres and the IOM to educate and shed light on the significant issue of trafficking in human beings:  “Criminals continue to take advantage of their fellow citizens by using more sophisticated forms of information and communication technology to avoid detection and to conduct abusive practices. Given that, law enforcement and other government entities must also learn to combat these threats online throughout the cyber world.  By sharing best practices, trends and investigative techniques, our organizations stand a better chance to combat offences involving the trafficking in human beings and to make all of our communities safer and a better place to live.”

Global co-operation in combating THB, tracking the money in trafficking cases and overlapping investigation in trafficking were also discussed. The increased challenges require an effective response, which implies more training for staff in criminal justice systems and for prosecutors in order to ensure a proactive approach in addressing these types of crimes.

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