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Belgium study visit to enhance international cooperation to fight human trafficking

With funding from the EU, under the UN.GIFT umbrella, the "Enhanced multi-stakeholder cooperation" project to address human trafficking from Nigeria to select European countries has completed the second major stakeholder workshop under the project in Belgium. The Belgium Study Visit was held in Brussels and Antwerp between the 3 and 7 October 2011.


This workshop was a follow up to the first Study Visit in Nigeria in June 2011. The workshop brought together a group of 24 experts in human trafficking from Nigeria to Europe to meet with key Nigerian counterparts and gain exposure to the cultural and socio-economic dimensions of trafficking from Nigeria.


The main successes of this Visit was that experts from judiciary, prosecution, criminal investigation and victim support from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Nigeria, Switzerland and UK initiated discussions on concrete methods of information sharing. European participants also made contacts with Nigerian institutions and gained a more in-depth understanding of the root cases and cultural dimensions of human trafficking from Nigeria to Europe.


During the follow up Belgium Study Visit, the initial stakeholders met for a second time to continue the process of enhancing dialogue. This Visit provided the Nigerian delegates with a better understanding of the situation of victims of trafficking in Belgium.


Guest presenters from EU, Eurojust, Europol, Interpol and Frontex provided an overview of their role in combating trafficking in Europe and internationally, as well as effective cooperation methods.


Through this workshop, the same 24 participants were able to engage in more comprehensive discussions on procedures and systems in each of the seven countries, as well as methods for requesting mutual legal assistance, launching joint investigations and referring victims of trafficking for support.


The third and final workshop under the project will be held in Vienna during the week of 28 November to 2 December 2011. An emphasis will be placed on thorough reviews of cases from each country to provide practical examples of how cooperation works between judiciary, prosecution, criminal investigations and NGO victim support providers. It will highlight best practices and provide an opportunities for each country to enhance cooperation in the fight against human trafficking from Nigeria to Europe.