Pre-trial investigation authorities to be trained to detect and investigate human trafficking offences

14.9.2018 10.18
Press release

The Police and the Border Guard are being trained to investigate human trafficking offences and understand the phenomenon. This involves the most extensive human trafficking training programme for pre-trial investigation authorities in Finland. The training programme will include hundreds of pre-trial investigation authorities involved in both fieldwork and pre-trial investigation.

The training is designed to deepen the pre-trial investigation authorities’ understanding of the phenomenon and give them tools to detect and combat human trafficking.

The training programme is being offered to all 11 of Finland’s police departments, the four administrative units of the Border Guard, and to students on the basic and advanced border guard training courses and the undergraduate course at the Military Academy. The first training sessions were run for the Southeastern Finland Police Department in Kouvola and the next training course will be held in Northern Finland.

The training programme ties in with a project called IHME, which is run by the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking and is aimed at improving the operational preconditions for anti-human trafficking efforts in Finland. The training courses have been designed and are being run in cooperation with the National Police Board, the Finnish Border Guard, the Police University College of Finland and the Border and Coast Guard Academy in the autumn of 2018 and the spring of 2019.

Uneven distribution of competencies in human trafficking investigations

The training courses for pre-trial investigation authorities consist of two interlinked modules. The basic training module focuses on human trafficking as a phenomenon, its different forms and ways to identify, approach and help victims. The course is designed for pre-trial investigation authorities involved in surveillance, for example.

The advanced training module focuses on human trafficking as a criminal offence and the associated pre-trial investigation procedure. The pre-trial investigation training covers issues such as the special characteristics of human trafficking offences and factors that facilitate and must be taken into account in investigations – such as the importance of detection efforts and questions relating to the protection and interviewing of victims. The pre-trial investigation training is being offered to a wide range of pre-trial investigation authorities specialising in different lines of investigation, who may encounter human trafficking in their work.

"There are already police departments in Finland that excel at investigating human trafficking offences. However, such know-how is not evenly distributed across the country. We also want to improve the ability of pre-trial investigation authorities involved in fieldwork, in particular, to detect cases of human trafficking – as they are the ones most likely to encounter victims", explains Veikko Mäkelä, leader of the IHME project.

It is also hoped that the training will encourage pre-trial investigation authorities to consult colleagues working in different departments, as well as other experts when they need support or advice during an investigation. Another aim is to increase cooperation between pre-trial investigation authorities and other anti-human trafficking organisations, such as the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking, the Office of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, which acts as Finland’s National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, and non-governmental organisations.

Resources will remain available to pre-trial investigation authorities

The courses will be run by anti-human trafficking experts representing the Assistance System for Victims of Human Trafficking, as well as police officers and border guards with experience of human trafficking investigations.

Learning resources are also available in the Moodle learning environments of the Police and the Border Guard, where they can be accessed for on-the-job training and self-education purposes. The pre-trial investigation authorities will also be able to use the resources after the training.

The IHME project, which aims to improve the operational preconditions for anti-human trafficking efforts in Finland, receives EU funding from the Internal Security Fund (ISF-P).

Further information for the media

Veikko Mäkelä, Project Manager, tel. +358 29 5 430 431, e-mail: [email protected]