Bulgaria, 2011.11.22



Bulgaria hosts the 3rd JIT THB Workshop

From 22 – 24 November, representatives of police forces, prosecution services and NGOs from countries, participating in the JIT THB project, participated in the 3rd two-day JIT THB Workshop entitled "Trafficking in Human Beings (Legal Aspects, Role of NGOs and International Cooperation)", which took place in Sofia, Bulgaria. Unlike the past two workshops that were mostly focused on the concept of JIT and its usage, the debate was concentrated on the concrete field of criminal activity – trafficking in human beings (THB). NGO representatives were also invited to contribute the civil society point-of-view of combating THB.

The Workshop was opened by Mr. Sandi Čurin, representative of the Slovenian Ministry of the Interior and JIT THB project manager. On the first day, we heard several interesting presentations by national delegations, split into two parts. First, national legislative frameworks dealing with the fight against THB were presented. In this regard the state of play concerning the ratification and transposition of international legal instruments into national law, such as the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and the UN Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, was presented. Furthermore, provisions of the substantive and procedural domestic law tackling the trafficking issue were explained.

Secondly, NGO representatives brought forward various national solutions dealing with the fight against THB, care and support of the victims. These include preventive and victim identification measures, crisis and safe house accommodation procedures, psychological, legal and logistical assistance to victims, and more.

The second day of the workshop was dedicated to the interactive group work, moderated by Mr. Tomaž Peršolja from the Slovenian Police and Mr. Bart de Buck from Europol. Participants were split into five groups, which, on the basis of distributed questionnaires, discussed and presented their views on the possibilities for information exchange in fighting THB, the use of safe communication channels, and the role of Eurojust, Europol and NGOs in fighting THB. The groups also performed a basic analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the use of JITs in THB cases. The overall conclusion of the discussion was that, despite some obstacles in JIT operation, such as lingual barriers or different legislative frameworks, JITs are perceived as a very useful tool. As THB cases often have a cross-border dimension, JITs facilitate international investigations through fast and safe exchange of information, effective operational cooperation, easier collection and use of evidence in courts, logistic, financial and other forms of external support, etc.

The project titled "The Introduction of the Requirements for Establishing Joint Investigation Teams to fight Trafficking in Human Beings in Southeast Europe – JIT THB" will continue in 2012 when the 4th workshop will further deepen the participants' knowledge regarding the THB issue and will focus even more on the operational issues concerning the use of JITs in THB cases.

Project Partners

Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Slovenia
Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Bulgaria
Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Bulgaria
Office of the State Prosecutor General of the Republic of Slovenia