Project HTSM European Union

Countering human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in the European Union

Timeframe: 2022- 2023
Budget: EUR 158,000
Donor: European Commission

The situation

Human trafficking and migrant smuggling are lucrative crimes that increasingly employ sophisticated and technological methods to expand their reach.

They are low-risk, high-profit criminal businesses carried out by organized networks across the globe. They are also connected to other crimes including terrorism, illicit money flows, trafficking in illicit goods, document fraud and cybercrime.

The European Union is a destination region for these crimes. Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and labour exploitation are the most prevalent forms of human trafficking in the EU. Migrant smugglers use land, air and sea routes to facilitate irregular migration both into and within the European Union.

The organized networks or individuals behind human trafficking and migrant smuggling take advantage of people who are vulnerable, or simply seeking a better life. To address the international dimension of these crimes it is essential to strengthen global police cooperation.

Project aims

The overall objective of this project is to identify cases of human trafficking and migrant smuggling and dismantle the organized criminal groups responsible. It does this by:

  • Promoting international cooperation between INTERPOL, Europol and other key stakeholders;
  • Supporting the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking and migrant smuggling cases;
  • Facilitating easier access to INTERPOL’s global databases and services;

Project activities

  • Gathering intelligence on trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling trends in the European Union;
  • Providing investigative and operational support;
  • Leveraging specialized networks to foster coordination on cases of human trafficking and migrant smuggling;
  • Coordinating transnational operations;
  • Carrying out capacity building training sessions;
  • Drafting and disseminating analytical reports on regional modus operandi;

The Information Clearing House (ICH) was established in 2018 to combat smuggling networks and enhance international partnerships between INTERPOL and EU agencies like Europol, Frontex and the European Union Asylum Agency.

Located within Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC), the ICH promotes improved information and intelligence sharing. It focuses on criminal groups’ activities in source and transit countries for migration. INTERPOL’s Liaison Officer at the ICH facilitates this work, ensuring closer collaboration between international law enforcement agencies.

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