HEUNI and IOM trained passenger ferry staff in human trafficking and smuggling of migrants

Published 26.10.2016
The first training of a series of trainings by HEUNI and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) addressing human trafficking in the Baltic Sea was concluded last week. The aim of the trainings is to increase the awareness of passenger ferry staff on human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.

A wide variety of staff including mechanics, restaurant, service and security staff took part in the training, and engaged in a lively discussion. The training was an outcome of a study conducted within a project “Nordic-Baltic Partnership with Passenger Ferry Companies to Encounter Trafficking in Human Beings on the Baltic Sea", supported financially by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The HEUNI study “Addressing Human Trafficking in the Baltic Sea", released on the 20th of September, shed light on how human trafficking is related to the ferry industry, in particular in the Baltic Sea region. The report also looked at what ferry staff already know about human trafficking. The research confirms that the prevention of trafficking as such has not been prioritised by ferry companies in the region, although the corporate social responsibility strategies of many of the ferry operators do emphasise safety and security, in particular. Accordingly, one of the main conclusions of the research is that while human trafficking might not be one of the most topical problems in relation to the ferry industry in the Baltic Sea at the moment, the prevention of trafficking and related phenomena could become incorporated as a more integral element of the ethical and social responsibilities of the ferry companies.

The study also showed that there is currently well-established co-operation between law enforcement authorities in the Baltic Sea region, with the exchange of information and day to-day cooperation taking place between border guards, the police, and customs. But it could be useful to further strengthen the cooperation and the exchange of information between the public and the private sector in order to proactively prevent human trafficking. The research also indicates that there are several fields in which ferry companies have the potential to contribute to the prevention and identification of trafficking in human beings. To do this ferry staff needs to be aware of the phenomenon of trafficking, and need relevant training. Ferry companies and port authorities could also increasingly contribute to the prevention of trafficking in human beings through awareness raising campaigns in the port area or on board the ferries.

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