Combating human trafficking at the border - training for EU Border Guards


Trafficking in persons, or human trafficking, refers to the subjection of men, women and children to exploitative conditions that can be equivalent to slavery. Trafficking in human beings (THB) is a global phenomenon that targets women and men, girls and boys. The International Labour Organisation reported in June 2012 that in the past ten years there were over 20 million victims of trafficking worldwide, a quarter of them children. Although this crime is not frequently reported at the external borders of the European Union, human trafficking is closely related to the work of border guards. Often, border guards are the only law enforcement officials that the victims of trafficking come into contact with. Consequently, strengthening the capacity of border guards to prevent and combat THB is of paramount importance.

In 2011 Frontex Training Unit developed an anti-THB training package for European border guards.

The Anti-trafficking Training Manual was developed to raise awareness of human trafficking as a serious crime and human rights violation and to train border guards to identify and deal with potential victims of this crime. The manual emphasises the circumstances of vulnerable groups such as persons in need of international protection and children.

The training manual comprises three training modules: Awareness, Identification and Interviewing. The Awareness module increases understanding and enhances knowledge of human trafficking in general and the human rights violations it entails. The Identification module is aimed at improving the ability of border guards to identify potential victims of trafficking and suspected traffickers. Interviewing, the third module, helps second-line experts determine whether the person is a victim of human trafficking, also taking into account any need for assistance.

This manual, which has already been translated into 14 EU languages, was developed in cooperation with experts from the member states and external partners such as the European Police College, Eurojust, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organisation for Migration, the Office for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations' Children's Fund.

The Handbook on Risk Profiles on Trafficking in Human Beings is a collection of risk profiles of potential victims from different parts of the world and traffickers who bring them to Europe. By identifying specific profiles of traffickers it aims to increase detections and the consequent dismantling of criminal groups.

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