- Victims should receive unconditional assistance regardless of their status or their willingness to participate in criminal proceedings against traffickers. As human trafficking is a cross-border crime, the varied situation within the Nordic countries could be considered to make cooperation across borders more complex, emphasised Sonja Mandt.
The knowledge forum that was held in Rīga on 27 & 28 November was part of the anti-human trafficking project of the Nordic Council of Ministers that was launched at the end of 2013. The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Estonia is responsible for the project.
The objective of the project is to bring together experts from the Nordic countries, the Baltic States and north-west Russia so they can exchange experience and establish the contacts they need in their daily work.
Follow the money
Human trafficking as modern slavery has not decreased around the world and new forms of trafficking have emerged. Legislators and experts are trying to keep up with the criminals and constantly update laws.
Mandt says that criminals should be hit where it hurts most – financially. The police forces, tax authorities and other related agencies from different countries should cooperate efficiently to track and confiscate money emanating from human trafficking.
More criminals should be brought to justice and convicted. Cross-border cooperation and knowledge of difference legal systems is of key importance here.
Fruits of Nordic-Baltic cooperation
Berglind Eyjólfsdóttir introduced the first case of human trafficking in Iceland. The trail left by the criminals led to Lithuania, and according to Eyjólfsdóttir the contacts obtained with the support of the mobility programmes of the Nordic Council of Ministers and exchange of experience with colleagues in Vilnius helped the investigation greatly. The investigators knew how things were done in Lithuania and who to contact in Vilnius.
Director of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia Jan Widberg confirmed that the Nordic Council of Ministers would continue fighting against human trafficking both politically and with substantial resources
The Nordic Council of Ministers anti- human trafficking project
The Nordic Council of Ministers anti- human trafficking project covers four events. The first knowledge forum focussed on the recruitment and identification of victims, the second on legal proceedings and the third on the social consequences of human trafficking. The project will end with a peer review conference in Vilnius in spring 2015.