1st Workshop: Legal Aspects
The two-day workshop covered the legal aspects of using a JIT as an investigative tool in the fight against cross-border crime. The participants were familiarized with the concept of JITs and the benefits of its usage. International legal instruments were identified; one of the main conclusions was that the Police Cooperation Convention in Southeast Europe (PCC SEE) offers great potential as a legal basis for establishing JITs in Southeast Europe. The conclusions of the PCC SEE-led project in the area of establishing JITs in Southeast Europe were also presented. The respective SEE countries' legislative frameworks were presented to the participants. The workshop concluded with a practical example, which triggered great interest of the participants – representing all involved institutions on national level – in the potential of using a JIT. The workshop also noted the suggestions for future work within the project, thanks to interactive, practical and useful mutual exchange of information.



2nd Workshop: Initiating a JIT
With several presentations on practical examples of JITs by several participating states, the 2nd workshop shifted the focus of the discussion towards more practical aspects of JIT establishment and operation. Strengths and weaknesses of JITs were thoroughly examined, as well as the role of Europol and Eurojust in the phase of JIT initiation. In this respect, the Model Agreement and the Operational Action Plan were analyzed. The role of both agencies in terms of analytical support and information exchange was further described, and supplemented with the information concerning the SECI channel for information exchange. Participants gained plenty of first hand practical examples of JIT operation, covering the financial, organizational, cultural and other aspects.



3rd Workshop: National legislative frameworks
National legislative frameworks in the field of trafficking in human beings (THB) were thoroughly examined in order to provide the participants with a common understanding of legal opportunities and limitations for JIT establishment to fight THB. As comparison of different legal systems is extremely difficult a systematic approach for gathering detailed information in this field would be beneficial. The overall range of participants of the third workshop was broadened as representatives of NGOs dealing with the fight against trafficking in human beings (THB), care and support of the victims participated in the sessions, providing the proceedings with a civil-society aspect. It turned out their role in terms of protection and assistance to victims in the whole process is of utmost importance. They have the capacity to offer medical, psychosocial as well as material support, and thus ease the process of victims' reintegration into society. Furthermore, NGOs implement preventive and educational programs, cooperate with the law enforcement community, and facilitate the investigative and prosecutorial activities. Through interactive group work participants discussed some practical issues related to JIT THB: exchange of best practices, possible communication channels, and the role of Eurojust, Europol and NGOs. Participants performed, on the basis of a significant level of knowledge on JITs obtained so far, a thorough SWOT analysis of the use of JITs in THB cases. They found that, despite numerous advantages of the use of JITs as investigative tools, the negative features of their use are not to be neglected.


4th workshop: THB and the roles of competent Institutions
The overall aim of the 4th Workshop was upgrading the results achieved so far with practical work. Participants discussed about the EU dimension in the area of fighting THB. The participants were, among other things, familiarized with the newly-published EU Strategy in the Fight against THB and its main principles, with a focus on prosecution. Some useful examples from the work of Eurojust unit working with national specialized units followed. The participants were familiarized with four separate concluded cases which have strong international dimension and great relevance either for the aspect of JIT establishment or for the area of THB. Through interactive group work participants discussed options for resolving these cases. The discussion that took place proved very useful as it provided the participants with new ideas, answered many important procedural questions, and provided an opportunity for a mutual exchange of experience among the practitioners. The practical dimension of the 4th workshop continues to be strengthened with a further practical task delegated among four groups of project participants, which will be concluded in the 5th and final expert workshop.


5th workshop: The introduction of the requirements for establishing Joint Investigation Teams (JIT) to fight Trafficking in Human Beings in the South-eastern Europe
The last workshop of JIT THB project started with a summary of the last four workshops and a presentation of a special online web platform for practitioners – JIT Member Center. The participants were then split into four groups. Each group dealt, in a practical manner, with a different fictional THB case involving organized crime groups from Southeast Europe. On the basis of case analysis, the groups prepared draft JIT agreements and operational action plans. The participants took into account various aspects of JIT establishment – financing, list of JIT members, involvement of NGOs and international organizations, concrete operational activities, evidence admissibility, timeline etc. In the conclusion, participants agreed that a key to a successful JIT is a well prepared JIT agreement and trust amongst JIT members.



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
EUROPOL
EUROJUST
Office of the State Prosecutor General of the Republic of Slovenia