TF against Trafficking in Human Beings




Since 2006 the CBSS Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings has been working against human trafficking in the Baltic Sea region. On our tenth anniversary, we want to celebrate other counter trafficking activists in the region, as only joint actions can be truly effective in prevention of human trafficking. To this end we are launching the Baltic Sea Region Counter Trafficking Award. The award honours and recognises the commitment, dedication, creativity and leadership of individuals who fight human trafficking – A crime that is all our responsibility.





Anca Balan 

Anca Balan is a social worker at “The Meeting Place” by The Nest International. “The Meeting Place” is one of the activities of the Danish National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. At “The Meeting Place” foreign women involved in street prostitution are offered support and advice in a relaxed atmosphere. Anca is deeply engaged and has devoted a great deal of her career to ensuring the best possible help and support for the women at “The Meeting Place”. The work Anca has been carrying out throughout the last 10 years is characterised by strong and tireless dedication to working with foreign women in prostitution. Anca’s efforts in the field of human trafficking are based on an understanding that the complexity of human trafficking requires partnerships with collaborators in both Denmark and other countries in the specific cases of vulnerable and trafficked persons. Anca has a special ability to create contact and gain trust of vulnerable people in an environment where trust is otherwise hard to come by. 


Andris Bidzāns 

Andris Bidzāns is the Chief Inspector at the Anti-Trafficking Unit of the Organised Crime Enforcement Board of the Latvian State Police. Andris has been with the Ministry of the Interior since 2002, where his duties include the fight against and prevention of organised crime, trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation. While working with cases, he uses a creative approach, with his dedication leading to the successful uncovering of a number of very complex and extensive trafficking cases. These have included a complex criminal proceeding for the prosecution against an international organised criminal group dealing with trafficking in human beings. His current work focuses on large-scale labour exploitation. Since 2016, Major Andris has also participated as an expert from the State Police in the Commission of Specialists chaired by the mandated non-governmental organisations to assess the compliance of persons with the criteria of a victim of the trafficking in human beings. 


Sirle Blumberg 

Sirle Blumberg is the Director of the non-profit organisation “Living for Tomorrow” in Estonia. Living for Tomorrow was created in 1999, with countering human trafficking having been a central focus of the organisation from the beginning. Her work on setting up a nation-wide human trafficking helpline is noteworthy – she has succeeded in creating a multicultural team, who provide information and prompt help for those in need on a daily basis. Through her work on the helpline, she has played a significant part in uncovering one of the largest sexual exploitation cases in Estonia in the last year. It was through conversations and consultations with Sirle, that a parent of one of the victims found the courage to break their anonymity and contact the police. Sirle is also an avid educator, working with schools to educate kids on the risks of exploitation through practical workshops, as well as the private sector on how to be socially responsible. 


Emma Cotterill  

Emma Cotterill is working to combat human trafficking in the Skåne region in Sweden, in her current position as a lawyer for the Salvation Army. Having been part of the development of a national referral mechanism for support and protection to victims of trafficking as part of the Swedish government´s work against prostitution and trafficking, she is currently responsible for developing and the setting up of a regional response against trafficking in Skåne. Her persistent and dedicated work to combat trafficking was echoed in an interview in 2016, where she explains that it’s important to “acknowledge trafficking as a global problem, which is also a problem in Sweden and originates from the demand for sex purchases and cheap labour.” She further explains that “the image of trafficking as a gross crime, only taking place in metropolitan areas, needs to be nuanced”. 


Katja-Pia Jenu  

Katja-Pia Jenu is a Labour Inspector at the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland / Occupational Health and Safety and is specialised in monitoring the employment of migrant labour in Southern Finland. Her dedication has helped uncover several cases of severe labour exploitation and labour trafficking in Helsinki and in Southern Finland area. She cooperates closely with other authorities and NGOs on human trafficking issues, sharing her expertise and experiences, and has advocated for the rights of migrant workers in the media, at conferences and training events. She inspects work places in the service sector without giving prior notice to the employers (e.g. restaurants and cleaning firms) and makes sure to also talk to the migrant workers themselves. This allows her to uncover the real terms of employment beyond the paperwork. She has referred persons to the National Assistance System for Victims of Trafficking and during her inspections disseminates information on the system to the employees.  


Jaana Kauppinen 

Jaana Kauppinen started her work with individuals involved in prostitution and victims of human trafficking back in 1990. Today she is the Executive Director of the non-governmental organisation “Pro-tukipiste ry”, which she launched in 1996. “Pro-tukipiste” now has offices in three cities in Finland and has since 2000’s been the leading Finnish non-governmental organisation specialising in anti-trafficking work. “Pro-tukipiste” assists persons in vulnerable positions, identifies trafficking situations and victims of crimes and provides help and counselling for people in need of assistance. The organisation has also been publishing materials and tools for NGO’s and authorities, to help them identify trafficking situations and provide assistance. In 2007 Jaana launched the first Finnish anti-trafficking project that mapped  and built capacity of NGO’s and authorities working with persons who might have experienced human trafficking. Jaana and representatives of “Pro-tukipiste” have been present in all central working groups and steering groups on developing national structures against trafficking, centering cooperation and networks as the basis of the work against trafficking. 


Petra Kjellen Brooke 

Petra Kjellen Brooke is the Coordinator for the Norwegian Salvation Army’s anti-slavery efforts. In 2016 she initiated the Salvation Army’s pioneering project “Filemon” – a safe house for male victims of forced labour. She has also created the website, which aims at engaging people in anti-slavery efforts, as well as providing valuable information about the current trafficking situation in Norway and giving practical advice about identification of victims. She is engaged in many different ways in anti-trafficking efforts that go way beyond the scope of her position. She is currently a major driving force in Norway, combining a hands-on approach with a cooperation-minded attitude. 


Natalja Kurcinskaja 

Natalja Kurcinskaja is the Director of the Missing Persons Families Support Center (MPFSC) in Lithuania. Natalja was behind the idea and implementation of a new type shelter for female victims of human traffickingand their children in Vilnius in 2017, run by the MPFSC. Here women and children receive different types of assistance including temporary accommodation, social, medical, psychological & legal support, as well as education. The shelter is based on the Emmaus shop model, meaning it is not only financed by the government, but generates funds for victim assistance and support through social innovation and entrepreneurship, engaging the local community and other volunteers. The shelter invites victims of trafficking to run the Emmaus shop together, to socialise and network, support and assist each other and encourages them to gain skills, which might be important for their future life. This shelter model is completely new in Lithuania and signals a significant move forward. 


Egils Krutovs & Andris Kleins – advertising agency GO!AHEAD 

Working with the Latvian Ministry of Interior, the advertising agency “GO!AHEAD” in Riga represents a private sector company supporting the implementation of counter-trafficking policy. Their work is an example of how a small company can play an important role in the anti-trafficking work of a country, and the Baltic Sea region in general. In a short amount of time, “GO!AHEAD” has achieved a understanding of the issues of trafficking in human beings, its forms, risks, threats and the negative impact to the society. Through this deep understanding, the agency brings an anti-trafficking message to society. Tight deadlines and small or non-existent funding are no barriers or excuses for the agency, who create amazing products, which are used for societal awareness-raising activities and trainings of specialists across the region. 


Kristiina Linna 

Kristiina Linna is a labour inspector at the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southwestern Finland / Occupational Health and Safety, and is specialised in monitoring the employment of migrant labour in Southwestern Finland. Through her work and dedication she has helped uncover several cases of severe labour exploitation and labour trafficking in Finland in the past 10 years, in Turku and also on the Åland islands. She is actively involved in the local counter-trafficking network in Turku and cooperates closely with other authorities and NGOs on human trafficking issues, sharing her expertise and experiences. She inspects work places without giving prior notice (e.g. agricultural farms, restaurants and shipyards) and makes sure to also talk to the migrant workers themselves, using an interpreter whenever possible. This allows her to uncover the real terms of employment beyond the paperwork. She also cooperates with the Europol network of labour inspectors, taking part in joint action days, and has referred persons to the National Assistance System for Victims of Trafficking. 


Maia Rusakova 

Maia Rusakova is the Director of the regional non-profit organisation “Stellit” in Russia.  She has published 25 national and international publications and toolkits on the topic of prostitution and trafficking in human beings, and has vast experience in the field of combating trafficking in women and children for sexual purposes. She has initiated and implemented more than 40 projects including research, awareness-raising campaigns and projects aimed at providing methodological support to stakeholders in the field of prevention and providing assistance to victims, supporting NGOs in the field of combating sexual exploitation of children. Dr. Maia Rusakova has implemented initiatives in the field of combating trafficking in different Russian regions and is also regarded as an expert in the field internationally. She currently coordinates a research project in Kazakhstan entitled “Monitoring of Legislation Regulating the Provision of Services to Victims of Trafficking in the Republic of Kazakhstan”. 


Anna Sander & Josephine Appelqvist – founders of Talita 

Anna and Josephine, the founders of “Talita”, have been involved in supporting victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation for over 20 years. In the late 1990s when they were involved in outreach work, they witnessed how many women that wanted to leave prostitution had nowhere to turn. In response to the need they saw, they quit their jobs to become trauma therapists and officially established “Talita” in 2004. “Talita” is a non-profit organisation offering help and support to women who have been exploited in prostitution, pornography or human trafficking for sexual purposes. “Talita” has grown from being a service solely offering trauma therapy, to becoming a holistic, long-term exit program that exists in Sweden, Mongolia and Romania. Seeing the need to address all of their target groups’ needs – physical, mental, emotional – Anna and Josephine formed a method of rehabilitation consisting of safe housing, trauma therapy, psycho-education, planning for the future and transition to work/studies and independent living. 


Drífa Snædal  

Drífa Snædal is the General Secretary of the Federation of General and Special workers in Iceland. Drífa has been a vital part in the fight against human trafficking in Iceland.  She has put the issue at the top of the agenda within the labour unions and has tirelessly worked on implementing information campaigns and actions within the labour unions. She has been an important ally in raising awareness on trafficking and recently organised, with good cooperation from other actors, the biggest seminar held on trafficking in Iceland, with foreign expert speakers addressing all the different forms of trafficking. The seminar raised an impressive amount of coverage in Iceland. 


Essi Thesslund 

Ess Thesslund, as the Senior Adviser in charge of the anti-trafficking work of the non-governmental organisation “Pro-tukipiste” since 2007, has set the base for the Finnish civil society’s work against trafficking in human beings. She also started the Finnish Civil Society Platform against Trafficking in Human Beings, which she coordinated until the end of 2015. Essi has been a part of the governmental roundtables, planning changes in legislation and improving victim assistance, hence ensuring that victims’ needs have been taken into account in policy making. She has been a driving force in developing early victim identification and assistance at “Pro-tukipiste”, and Finnish civil society in general. Through her work, many prominent cases of human trafficking for sexual exploitation have been reported and prosecuted. She has also been involved in increasing cooperation between Finnish non-governmental organisations and the formation of the Four-Clover Alliance. 

Sandra Zalcmane 

Sandra Zalcmane started her professional career as a social worker more than 18 years ago. At that time, the support system for victims of trafficking was only in development in Latvia. With Sandra’s initiative and participation, a professional support system for the social rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking was set up. In 2007 she was part of establishing the non-governmental organisation “Shelter “Safe House””, which she now heads. The organisation is one of two national support services that provides a 24-hour consultative hotline and state-funded rehabilitation services for victims of human trafficking and migrants. Sandra has trained professionals from various fields on the prevention of human trafficking, including local government, social and police officers and educators. Over the past 8 years Sandra has carried out more than 20 prevention/societal information projects on human trafficking, including international initiatives. In 2016, within the framework of the project “Prevention of Human Trafficking and Sham Marriages: A Multidisciplinary Solution” 186 professionals from different fields were trained in seminars using her methodology. She has established a coalition platform of 12 organisations to minimise trafficking in Latvia and works closely with various international partners. Next to her day-to-day work she continues to volunteer and give lectures on human trafficking at several universities in Latvia and has written several books on the topic. 

The winners of the Baltic Sea Counter Trafficking Award will be announced at the Award Gala Dinner at Fotografiska in Stockholm, on 29 November 2017.

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About the TF-THB

Trafficking in human beings is a global problem. Nevertheless, variations can be found with respect to (sub) regions and countries of origin, transit, destination and the degree of internal trafficking. The states of the Baltic Sea Region are all affected by trafficking in human beings. Every year women, men and children are trafficked to, through or from the CBSS Region for the purpose of exploitation. Furthermore, the region is subject to constant changes in the patterns of human trafficking and the forms of victimisation. This is particularly due to global economic changes and the inventiveness of organised crime structures. The overall objective of the Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings (TF-THB) is to counteract trafficking in human beings in the Baltic Sea Region through preventive and protective activities. The mandate of the TF-THB is to fight against trafficking in human beings and all of its forms of exploitation. Our actions aim at strengthening assistance to victims, promoting cooperation, abolishing gaps in existing approaches and improving legislation.

Experts and Structure of the Task Force

The Task Force is composed of experts from relevant Government ministries in all the CBSS capitals. The work of the Task Force is realised by the Senior Advisor and her staff at the CBSS Secretariat in Stockholm, Sweden.



STROM II- Continuing to Strengthen the Role of Municipalities in the Work against Trafficking in Human Beings in the Baltic Sea Region

 STROM II was a follow-up initiative on the pilot implementation of the results, particularly guidelines for the municipalities, of the STROM project in selected municipalities in the Baltic Sea Region. It is a transnational project that aims to strengthen the capacity and role of municipalities in the chain of assistance to victims of human trafficking in the Baltic Sea Region.

Activities of the project

  • Setting up a working group against trafficking in human beings in all participating municipalities to help in implementation of the project activities.
  • Development of specific and sustainable referral mechanisms in the municipalities following the example provided in the Guidelines for Municipalities – Stepping up Action against Human Trafficking.
  • Organisation of a national meeting and multidisciplinary roundtable meetings at the local level as well training workshops for local experts to improve counter-trafficking activities in long term.
  • Implementation of tailor-made awareness-raising activities targeting vulnerable populations and groups at risk to be trafficked.
  • Organisation of a regional expert meeting to share experiences and to disseminate project findings and lessons learned during the course of the project implementation.

Participating countries

  • Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Russian Federation
  • Nordic experts are invited to share their experiences in the project meetings


  • Coordinator of the project: the Council of the Baltic Sea States Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings (CBSS TF-THB)
  • Partners: Nordic Council of Ministers, NGO “Living for Tomorrow” in Estonia, the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Latvia, the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, and Saint Petersburg Branch of the Russian Red Cross.


  • May 2016 ­–September 2017

STROM II meetings:

  • STROM II project kick-off meeting in Vilnius on 16 – 17 June 2016
  • National inter-institutional roundtable meetings in 2016: 14 September in Tallinn, 23 September in Riga, 5 October in Vilnius,
  • Multidisciplinary roundtable discussion on the implementation of the developed guidelines for municipalities in 2016:  7 October in Taurage; 13 October in Saint Petersburg; 14 October in Kaunas; 28 October in Haapsalu;  23 November in Jõhvi; 24 November in Leningrad oblast; 1 December in Liepaja; 16 December in Valmiera
  • STROM II project meeting in Riga on 1-2 February 2017


  • Final Conference of the STROM II project in Birstonas, Lithuania, on 12–13 October 2017. Go here to see photos.

Report “The costs of assisting victims of trafficking in human beings: a pilot study of services provided in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania

Human trafficking is a serious crime, and causes severe consequences for victims. Because of the often very traumatic exploitation and abuse involved, victims may need specialized assistance to recover from their experiences, and victim assistance requires the participation of health, social and/or legal sectors of society. This research focused on the types of services provided to victims of human trafficking in the three Baltic countries, the costs associated with such services, and the role of non-governmental organisations and municipalities in supporting victims. Increasing the understanding of the direct costs of assisting victims of trafficking aims to increase the understanding of the problem of trafficking among state and municipal actors, as well as increase awareness of the financial impact of trafficking on victims, service providers and the state. The study was a first attempt to map the costs of trafficking in the three Baltic countries. The pilot nature of this study required the development of specific research tools and methodology, all of which are included in the report.

Go here to read the report.


An interactive tool “The Human Game” was developed in the framework of the STROM II project to show complexities of human trafficking and encourage discussions among the participants of the game. This game can be used for different target groups to raise awareness about the problem of human trafficking. It can also be used as a tool for ice breaking activities and team-building. The game encourages to think “outside the box” and to better understand the risks of human trafficking.

You can download the instructions and the “The Human Game” in English, Estonian, Latvian and Russian below.











For more information about the project please also visit

Partners in the project…





On 3 November 2014 the Council of the Baltic Sea States Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings, in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Latvia, commenced the STROM project.  The STROM Project is a transnational project that aims to strengthen the capacity and role of municipalities in the chain of assistance to victims of human trafficking in the Baltic Sea Region. It was finalised in October 2015 and was funded by the CBSS Project Support Facility (PSF), the Swedish Institute and the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Latvia.

Cities and regions have a special position when it comes to recognising the signs of human trafficking, however, local and regional authorities in most cases do not have a prominent place in the strategies against human trafficking, even though human trafficking is not just a city phenomenon but is also current in smaller towns throughout the Baltic Sea Region.

In order to assess the current role and responsibilities of municipalities in the chain of assistance to victims of all forms of human trafficking and develop effective anti – trafficking policies at the local level, a baseline assessment was carried out in the Baltic Sea Region.

Regional experts from the municipalities in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, the Russian Federation and Sweden met on May 19 – 20 2016 in Riga to share and analyse the local mechanisms in place to deal with cases of human trafficking.

The culmination of the project was specific guidelines for municipalities outlining the main challenges and best practices in dealing with human trafficking cases at the local level.

The project was coordinated jointly by the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Latvia and the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings in close cooperation with the NGO “Living for Tomorrow” in Estonia, Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania, Ministry of Justice and Public Security in Norway, Ministry of Interior in Poland, and County Administrative Board of Stockholm in Sweden.

See the project info sheet here.


Conference “Local Action against Human Trafficking” May 19 – 20, 2015 Riga, Latvia

strom image latviaThe conference “Local Action against Human Trafficking” was organised by the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Latvia in close cooperation with the Council of the Baltic Sea States Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings, the Ministry of Security and Justice of the Netherlands and the City of Amsterdam.

The conference aimed to provide a platform for sharing knowledge and expertise on how to deal with cases of human trafficking at the municipal level.

Specific objectives:

• To identify common challenges and proven practices to counteract trafficking in human beings at the local level in the Baltic Sea Region and beyond.

• To provide local stakeholders with expert knowledge and tools needed to deal efficiently with human trafficking cases.

• To expand national and regional cooperation networks by strengthening the role of municipalities and local stakeholders in the chain of assistance to victims.

Ms Ilze Pētersone-Godmane, State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Latvia welcoming participants of the conference highlighted that “trafficking in human beings is a crime which should not be tolerated. This illegal business flourishes on the suffering of exploited people. The human rights violations suffered by trafficking victims contravene the basic principles of the international community.

Human trafficking undermines the principles of a democratic society, the rule of law, and respect for individual rights. Human trafficking undermines international security, state control of borders and world health. Human trafficking expands wealth and affluence of organised crime. Many trafficking victims are scarred for life by the psychological and physical abuse they have suffered. Families and communities who have lost members to traffickers cannot heal their loss. Human trafficking remains a defining problem of the twenty-first century.

Many countries still lack the fundamentals, such as adequate ant-trafficking legislation and national strategies, to address the problem. Unfortunately there is no single anti-trafficking strategy that will work in stemming the growth of human trafficking. An effective governmental counter-trafficking response requires many components such as state-funded public education campaigns and awareness-raising to prevent trafficking and identify victims, victim’s assistance, training programs for practitioners, enhanced coordination between NGOs and diverse government agencies, and national, regional and international cooperation.

For counter-trafficking activities to be effective, cooperation among relevant stakeholders should be ensured not only at the international and national level, but also at local level. Big cities and towns have crucial role in prevention and providing assistance to victims. The conference “Local Action against Human Trafficking” provides opportunities to share knowledge and best practices and raise awareness of municipalities on their role and responsibilities to deal with cases of human trafficking at the municipal level.”

During the opening of the conference Mr Anthony Jay Olsson, Head of Media and Communication Unit, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, informed that the STROM Project is a flagship project under the Policy Area Secure – Protection from land-based emergencies, accidents and cross-border crime – of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). Opening speeches were given by Ms Malgorzata Tarasiewicz, Contact Person of Gdansk for the Union of the Baltic Cities in the Comission on Gender Equality, and Mr Arnoldas Abramavicius, the EU Committee of the Regions, CIVEX Commission.

Guidelines for municipalities “Stepping up Local Action against Human Trafficking”

The Guidelines for Municipalities – Stepping up Local Action against Human Trafficking aims to provide local actors with the knowledge and right tools to strengthen their role in the work against human trafficking and increase effectiveness of the anti-trafficking actions by ensuring proper and timely victim identification, adequate and sustainable assistance and protection. The Guidelines are available in English, Estonian, Finnish, German, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian and Swedish languages.

The guidelines:

– illustrate the key principles and standards that apply in the design and implementation of all policies and interventions in addressing trafficking at the local level. There are four key principles which call for a human rights-based approach, unconditional and rights-based victim assistance, evidence-based prevention and multi-disciplinary cooperation.

– introduce what trafficking in human beings is and how it is regulated. In addition, example cases of different forms of trafficking are provided to illustrate the many forms of trafficking has taken in the Baltic Sea region.

– focus on mapping out the local trafficking situation and highlights the various questions that municipalities should consider in order to identify local vulnerable groups and risky locations, and to chart the relevant actors and their resources in order to improve local response to trafficking. Knowing the local context and trends is very important when considering the next steps to be taken in identifying victims, providing assistance and preventing human trafficking.

– focus on identification of victims of trafficking and introduces indicators of trafficking. A large variety of local actors can identify victims when they are given access to and training on how to use indicators of trafficking. It is important for local actors to react immediately and report suspicions further on to appropriate actors in order to ensure proper support and assistance to victims of trafficking and proper investigation of alleged offenders.

– outline the key issues regarding victim assistance and the different forms of assistance. The guidelines highlight the importance of making sure that the support offered meets the individual needs of the victims and that it is offered unconditionally, irrespective of the victims’ willingness to cooperate with the authorities.

– focus on supporting municipalities in the Baltic Sea region in establishing and strengthening measures to prevent trafficking in human beings and related exploitation. The section puts forward a number of measures that municipalities can take in this regard. Many of the measures proposed could be integrated into local social, economic and crime prevention policies and programmes, such as those related to addressing social exclusion and marginalization, safe migration, integration of migrants, poverty, education, violence against women, and so forth. The provided action points emphasize the need to establish pro-active rather than reactive prevention strategies. Such pro-active policies are more cost effective and save resources in the end.

– recap the main action points for municipalities in order to strengthen their counter trafficking activities as regards mapping of the local situation, identification of victims, provision of assistance as well as prevention of human trafficking.

Here follow the guidelines in all the languages:


ENG_WEB-1     DE_WEB-1     RU_WEB-1

LT_WEB-1      LV_WEB-1      EST_WEB-1

FIN_WEB-1      SWE_WEB-1     NO_WEB-1



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TRACE project logoTRACE (Trafficking As a Criminal Enterprise), is a EU funded project that started in May 2014 and will run for two years, until April 2016. TRACE consists of a multi-disciplinary team from across Europe who will develop state-of-the-art knowledge on the business of human trafficking in an effort to support stakeholders in their fight against this crime.   Trafficking in human beings is a serious human rights violation and combating this crime remains a priority in Europe today. Although there is increasing attention for the fight against human trafficking, it remains difficult to accurately determine the scale and traits of the issue. It is however, evident that thousands of people are being trafficked within, to and from Europe every year. Figures from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2012 reveal that within the European Union 880.000 persons are in a position of forced labour. Paul De Hert, a human rights academic at Vrije University Brussel, observes that ‘in it’s configurations, trafficking means human misery and slavery. How to make sense out of that remains a very complicated issue.’

To understand the issue and ensure effective European measures to address the problem, more information on the scope of human trafficking in Europe is needed, including; which persons are vulnerable for exploitation and abuse, how are these persons recruited, who is behind this crime and how do they operate? To-date little is known about the profiles of traffickers, what influences their business and how trafficked persons become traffickers. The TRACE team will look at the modus operandi and profiles of perpetrators, seek to understand more about the victim and look among other factors at the role of technology used to recruit persons, as well as how technology can be used to help combat trafficking. Also current policies, legislation and measures taken by the European Commission, national European governments and other stakeholders will be examined to assess the methods and provide an understanding of how human trafficking is framed.

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The project aims to:

  1. Develop an understanding of trafficking as a business;
  2. Acquire an understanding of the specific characteristics of the traffickers: who are they and why do they become traffickers? Coupled with developing an understanding of why some victims become traffickers and understanding the nature of the interaction amongst, traffickers, victims and third parties who facilitate human trafficking;
  3.  Gain knowledge of the factors influencing the trends in trafficking of human beings, e.g. technology, economic and political trends;
  4.  Develop an understanding of the policies in place and provide a framework of what further policy actions are available for stakeholders.

The consortium consists of a range of different types of stakeholders with vast research experience, including: Trilateral Research & Consulting (UK) a Small and medium enterprise specialising in technology and security research, academics from Vrije University Brussel (Belgium) and Tilburg University (The Netherlands), a body of national governmental representatives against human trafficking: The Council of Baltic Sea States Secretariat, Cyprus Police and civil society organisations La Strada International (Netherlands) and The French Committee Against Modern Slavery (France).

The consortium will share its findings in a comprehensive manner whilst also actively participating in various international activities including conferences, workshops and attending meetings relevant to its aims and objectives. The team will also seek to further share their findings by publishing results in journals, the press and via briefing papers that will be targeted towards different stakeholders of whom may benefit from the projects findings.

Preliminary findings will be available in fall 2014. For further information and project updates, including workshop announcements, please visit the project’s website: and follow us on Twitter @TRACE_EU.

The TRACE project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 607669. TRACE is coordinated by Trilateral Research & Consulting. For more information, please contact our Press officer Julia Muraszkiewicz (


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On 1 July 2012 the CBSS TF-THB and European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI) in Finland, the Ministry of the Interior in Lithuania and the University of Tartu in Estonia commenced a 2-year flagship project “ADSTRINGO – Addressing trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation through improved partnerships, enhanced diagnostics and intensified organisational approaches”. The main objective of ADSTRINGO is to prevent trafficking for labour exploitation through enhanced national and regional partnerships of stakeholders that are in a position to address situations of trafficking and labour exploitation and through improved understanding of the mechanisms that facilitate such exploitation. ADSTRINGO has been granted Flagship Status under the EUSBSR priority area 15.5 to prevent trafficking. The project will be implemented in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden with the financial support of the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme of the European Commission Directorate General Home Affairs. The Swedish Institute Baltic Sea Cooperation Unit separately finances the CBSS TF-THB for the implementation of  similar project activities in the Russian Federation and Poland. The two main activities foreseen in the project are a baseline research on recruitment practices in relation to trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation in both countries of origin and destination and national workshops in each of the participating countries that bring together all relevant stakeholders to discuss cooperation to address trafficking for labour exploitation and how to prevent it.

EUSBSR flagship label transparent

As an outcome of both activities, the project also aims at developing concrete guidelines on how to prevent this form of human trafficking and exploitation. The findings of the research will be presented and discussed on 18 October 2013 at a high level conference in Vilnius during the Lithuanian Presidency of the European Union. The project ends in June 2014. The kick of meeting for ADSTRINGO was held in August in Helsinki and as a first activity of the project a coordination meeting of national coordinators and moderators of the national workshops was held in Stockholm on October 5th.



Guidelines to Prevent Abusive Recruitment, Exploitative Employment and Trafficking of MigrantWorkers – In Brief

ADSTRINGO Guidelines in Brief

The Guidelines – In Brief version has been designed to be easy to use,  refer to and function as a quick overview and checklist on how to best prevent exploitation of migrant workers. It is targeting States, Businesses – especially Recruitment Agencies and Employers- trade unions and NGOs. The In Brief version includes short extracts from the original Guidelines. For in depth information, references and sources we refer to the main Guidelines publication.





Download the Guidelines  – In Brief:










The Guidelines against Labour Exploitation in the Baltic Sea Region are here!

Guidelines CoverThe Guidelines to Prevent Abusive Recruitment, Exploitative Employment and Trafficking of Migrant Workers in the Baltic Sea Region is the culmination of the project “ADSTRINGO − Addressing Trafficking in Human Beings for Labour Exploitation through Improved Partnerships, Enhanced Diagnostics and Intensified Organisational Approaches”. The aim of these guidelines is to address and tackle the different forms of exploitation and trafficking of migrant workers in the Baltic Sea Region that were identified as problematic in the joint ADSTRINGO research report “Exploitation of Migrant Workers in Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania. Uncovering the Links between Recruitment, Irregular Employment Practices and Labour Trafficking”. In addition, many of these problematic practices and issues have been identified and discussed in the national experts meetings which have been organised under the ADSTRINGO umbrella in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, as well as in Poland and Russia. The guidelines have been produced in English and translated to the four other project languages Finnish, Swedish, Estonian and Lithuanian. Ultimately, it is our hope that the guidelines will be utilised in efforts to prevent trafficking for forced labour and to protect the rights of migrant workers in the different countries in the Baltic Sea region. In order to achieve best possible impact a shorter and easy to use version of these guidelines will shortly be available for practitioners in the five project languages. The ADSTRINGO partners would like to thank all the national and international actors who have been involved in the project activities, events as well as national and international expert meetings.


Download the full Guidelines here

Download the full Guidelines in Estonian here

Download the full Guidelines in Finnish here

Download the full Guidelines in Lithuanian here

Download the full Guidelines in Polish here

Download the full Guidelines in Russian here

Download the full Guidelines in Swedish here



Russian ADSTRINGO Report Cover   Russian ADSTRINGO Report English version

ADSTRINGO Russian Report        ADSTRINGO Russian Report- English

Polish ADSTRINGO Report cover   polish english

ADSTRINGO Polish Report           ADSTRINGO Polish Report – English

ADSTRINGO Swedish report COVER

ADSTRINGO Swedish Report


finnish adstringo    ADSTRINGO Lithuanian Heuni

ADSTRINGO Finnish Report       ADSTRINGO Lithuanian Report

estonian report    Heuni 4 countries english

ADSTRINGO Estonian Report      ADSTRINGO Report, English Version: Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania


The CBSS, TF-THB meeting the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė during the EUSBSR Annual Forum in Vilnius, Lithuania

President Dalia Grybauskaite and Commissioner Johannes Hahn with ADSTRINGO representatives ADSTRINGO represenatives meet President Dalia Grybauskaite and Commissioner Johannes Hahn

Anna Ekstedt from the CBSS TF-THB and Anniina Jokinen from HEUNI presenting the EUSBSR flagship project ADSTRINGO against human trafficking for labour exploitation to the Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaitė, and the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, during the EUSBSR Annual Forum in Vilnius, Lithuania.

HEUNI Report HEUNIcoverIt is an honour and pleasure to present the publication Exploitation of migrant workers in Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania: Uncovering the links between recruitment, irregular employment practices and labour trafficking. This publication is a compilation of four independent research reports commissioned under the umbrella concept of ADSTRINGO – Addressing trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation through improved partnerships, enhanced diagnostics and intensified organisational approaches. ADSTRINGO is a flagship project of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) under the Priority Area – Crime. The partners of the ADSTRINGO project are the Council of the Baltic Sea States Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings (CBSS TF-THB), The European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI), the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania and the University of Tartu in Estonia. The publication will serve as one of the key ADSTRINGO project components alongside national workshops with relevant actors. In a parallel project implemented in Poland and Russia two additional independent research reports will be produced. This publication edited by the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI) is also part of their publication series. This research compendium on recruitment practices in both countries of origin and destination provide new information on the vulnerabilities, factors, methods and channels that facilitate exploitation. Ultimately guidelines for employers and recruitment agencies will be developed in group settings which it is hoped will further contribute to the prevention of THB by aiding the identification of exploitative situations and enabling the reduction of such situations occurring. These findings combined with the national workshops as well as the previous CBSS TF-THB project Data and Education on Forced Labour Exploitation and Counter Trafficking (DEFLECT), in partnership with HEUNI as well as the previous HEUNI project Trafficking for Forced Labour and Labour Exploitation (FLEX) amongst others, will jointly enhance the final results of ADSTRINGO. In summary jointly the research component of ADSTRINGO aim at improving the current level of knowledge in the Baltic Sea region regarding exploitative recruitment practices that may lead to trafficking as well as the roles and responsibilities of employers in preventing such exploitation. The partners would like to thank the researchers Anniina Jokinen and Natalia Ollus at HEUNI, Louisa Vogiazides and Charlotta Hedberg at the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, Kadri Soo and Anna Markina at the Faculty of Law at Tartu University and Diana Janusauskiene from the Centre for Social Studies at Vytautas Magnus University as well as our own respective partner teams. Download the full report here.

ADSTRINGO Conference: The 7TH EU Anti-Trafficking Day Side Event Last week 17 October the ADSTRINGO project conference was held in the Lithuanian Parliament in Vilnius as a side event to the 7th EU Anti Trafficking Day. At the conference Anniina Jokinen from HEUNI presented the interesting research findings from the ADSTRINGO research conducted in Estonia, Finland, Lithuania and Sweden.  The full report “Exploitation of Migrant Workers in Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania- Uncovering the Links between Recruitment, Irregular Employment Practices and Labour Trafficking” can be downloaded here. Furthermore, at the ADSTRINGO conference the research findings from the ADSTRINGO project in Poland and Russia was presented by Zbigniew Lasocik from the Human Trafficking Center at Warsaw University and Sergei Ryazantsev from the Institute for Socio-Political Research at the Russian Academy of Sciences.  The two reports are currently being edited and will be issued in a few weeks’ time. The expert panel during the final session of our conference provided substantial information and input that will be useful for both our upcoming expert conference and the final guidelines for practitioners in this field to be produced under this project.  See the agenda here.


DEFLECT is a trans-national project that will enhance local capacity to counter trafficking in human beings for forced labour and collect comparable data in the 11 CBSS Member States. The data will then be used to encourage innovative thinking and policy making regarding data collection mechanisms and will produce guidelines to facilitate the collection of these data. It will directly communicate the research findings to actors in the field and equip them with tools to identify and assist victims and collect data. The project will be implemented in two phases. The overall objective of DEFLECT is to prevent trafficking in human beings for forced labour, to identify, assist and protect victims and to provide a firm basis for policy development through improved data collection and training of key labour actors. On 7 – 8 June 2011, to launch the DEFLECT project the TF-THB, the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI) and the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and the Police held an Expert Conference on Forced Labour Exploitation and Counter Trafficking in the Baltic Sea Region.

 TF-THB begins the campaign “Human Trafficking – A Crime that is all of our Responsibility”

The CBSS Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings (TF-THB) has launched the awareness-raising campaign “Human Trafficking – A Crime that is all of our Responsibility.”

In cooperation with the Swedish artist Lovisa Burfitt and a production team in Estonia, a t-shirt has been designed with an ethical supply chain.

Human trafficking affects us all. More than 10000 people are trafficked every year for sexual, labour exploitation and other purposes in Europe alone! It’s happening within our countries, cities and communities, too.

This is why the TF-THB welcomes politicians like Ms Evika Siliņa (Parliamentary Secretary of Ministry of Interior of Latvia; pictured above) to be a part of the campaign, encouraging all stakeholders, social workers, anti-trafficking coordinators and the general public to take a stand against trafficking and exploitation of human beings by wearing this t-shirt and sending the strong message #traffickingsucks.

You can follow the campaign on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – or see all the contributions here.

Safetrip_black1 Information campaigns can be one of the most effective tools to raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking and to reach out to specific target groups, such as (potential) victims of human trafficking, to inform them of their rights and the specialist assistance services available. Safe Trip is an information campaign that is especially directed at women who are potential victims of human trafficking and who have been or are at risk of being trafficked to or within Sweden. It carries the messages in Swedish, English, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Thai. The campaign has been developed in partnership with the 24 hour national telephone support line for women subjected to threats and violence – 020 50 50 50 (from within Sweden). The campaign aims to open our eyes to the crime of human trafficking and inform (potential) victims of how to receive help to escape a seemingly hopeless situation. From the EU Anti-trafficking day – 18 October 2010 – Safe Trip will be displayed at local and international transport hubs – initially at Arlanda and Bromma airports and the metro – in the Stockholm area through which victims could be trafficked en route to exploitation. Swedish authorities, service providers and organisations will also carry the campaign.

If this pilot is successful the TF-THB will look into the possibility to run this campaign throughout the whole CBSS Region under the project period 2009-2010.

Campaign website –

Human Trafficking 2013- Baltic Sea Region Round-up

Map of human trafficking in the Baltic Sea region 2013Human Trafficking 2013 – Baltic Sea Region Round-up Report

This is the first time that the Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings (TF-THB) has written and compiled a Baltic Sea Region Round-up on the current trafficking situation in the Baltic Sea Region. This compilation contains chapters on each Member State as well as an overview of recent actions taken by the European Commission specifically the work of the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator. Statistics presented in the tables and combined onto the illustrated Map of the Baltic Sea Region is taken from 2012.

The round up report, with a special focus on each individual Member State, highlights practices and concentrates on: > new trends > ongoing projects > updates to the legal and institutional
framework > coordination mechanisms.

The aim of the Round-up is to create an easily accessible macro-regional snapshot which outlines the direction of counter trafficking work in our region. See the Human Trafficking 2013 expandable map on the left and read the full report here.


Human Trafficking 2016 – Baltic Sea Region Round-up Report

Access the full report here. The Round-up report provides an easily accessible macro-regional snapshot, which outlines the directions of counter-trafficking work in the Baltic Sea Region. The report covers the period of time from 2013 until 2016 and contains chapters on each Member State.

The country profiles give a brief overview of the current situation in the area of trafficking in human beings, national legal and institutional framework and recent changes in the legislation. Each country profile also contains a summary highlighting the national coordination mechanism, main stakeholders and their mandates, as well as best practices and statistical data for 2013–2015.

The report also summarises the initiatives of the Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings, and includes a separate piece on the current trends in human trafficking, as well as a collection of views expressed by different national and international trafficking experts on the future challenges and topical issues.

Hard Data: Data Collection Mechanisms on Human Trafficking in the Baltic Sea Region

In order to develop policies and working methods that successfully counteract human trafficking it is essential to have the right tools to monitor the changing patterns of the crime. Reliable data and statistics on human trafficking are essential to constantly enhance and update the knowledge base in this field. Only if there is sufficient statistical information on the victims, the traffickers, the trafficking process and the criminal justice responses, can victims of human trafficking be properly identified and assisted.





Conference on victim assistance – Recommendations

The conference resulted in a set of recommendations on victim assistance emphasizing the need for closer cooperation between relevant actors as well as empowering victims and assessing their individual needs. The importance of ensuring re-integration of victims with emboldened future prospects was particularly stressed. Meanwhile the conference pressed the necessity of targeting and punishing the criminals and the traffickers, holding the users of services provided by trafficking victims accountable was also a point of departure and crucial for further action. The specific rights of children were also highlighted and elaborated.

This report summarises the key recommendations of the conference based on the content and recommendations of the key note speeches, the expert input from panelists and from the participants.

Download the recommendations here.


Handbook for Diplomatic and Consular Personnel on how to assist and protect victims of human trafficking

Consular staff are often the first contact point between the authorities of the home country and victims of human trafficking. If provided with knowledge and the right tools consular staff can play an important role in the work against human trafficking, both by acting as a first filter against human trafficking when it comes to visa applications but also to ensure proper victim identification, assistance and protection. Thus in 2008, the TF-THB, in conjunction with the IOM Mission to Moldova, launched a two year programme of training seminars for diplomatic and consular personnel. The programme provided participants with the knowledge and tools to identify and advise vulnerable persons before they travel and to assist victims in cooperation with the police, social services, specialist support organisations, immigration authorities and other relevant actors. In total, 12 training seminars were conducted in the capitals of CBSS Member States and beyond between 2008 and 2010. The seminars trained over 550 diplomatic and consular personnel representing more than 90 countries from five different continents that are origin, destination or transit countries for victims of trafficking in the Baltic Sea Region. Download the Handbook here.

Human Trafficking in the Baltic Sea Region: State and Civil Society Cooperation on Victims Assistance and Protection.

Fostering NGO-Law Enforcement Cooperation in Preventing and Combating Human Trafficking in, from and to the Baltic Sea Region We have the great pleasure to inform you about the successful completion of the joint project between Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings (TF-THB) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Fostering NGO-Law Enforcement Cooperation in Preventing and Combating Human Trafficking in, from and to the Baltic Sea Region. The project culminated in the publication of a comprehensive regional assessment report entitled Human Trafficking in the Baltic Sea Region: State and Civil Society Cooperation on Victims Assistance and Protection. We hope that you will find the report to be a useful tool in assessing existing cooperation, highlighting best practices and identifying where these can be applied. We invite you to circulate information about this report and its findings to relevant colleagues and to your partner organisations.

Cooperation between relevant actors

Global problems such as trafficking in human beings can only be successfully fought against through a broad collaboration between various relevant actors including members of civil society, state actors and international organisations. Hence, the TF-THB and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) implemented a joint preparatory regional project on fostering NGO and law enforcement cooperation in preventing and combating human trafficking in, from and to the Baltic Sea Region. The project focused on both formalised and non-formalised cooperation mechanisms and analysed existing Memoranda of Understanding (MoU’s) in the Baltic Sea Region. The development of a Model Memoranda of Understanding is one of the outcomes of this project. The project aimed at strengthening cooperation between different governmental institutions and nongovernmental actors within and between the CBSS Member States. By exploring our current national referral mechanisms and in what way they can be improved we hope that ultimately the number of trafficked victims can be reduced in the Baltic Sea Region.

Model Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for law enforcement agencies and specialist service providers working with victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation in the Baltic Sea Region.

Model Memorandum of Understanding On 23 March 2011, the TF-THB held an Expert Seminar on a Model Memorandum of Understanding between law enforcement agencies and specialist service providers working with victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation in the Baltic Sea Region. At the Expert Seminar a model MoU, translated into each of the 11 CBSS Member State’s languages was presented and discussed.

Soft Security and Migration in the Baltic Sea Region

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, in close cooperation with the Icelandic Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the CBSS Secretariat organised a conference on Soft Security and Migration in the Baltic Sea Region on 30-31 May 2017. Please find the official invitation here.

The conference – taking place in Helsinki, Finland – focuses on discussing the impact and lessons learned from managing the migratory flows in 2015-2016 in the Baltic Sea Region. Statistics outline that the number of asylum applications submitted in several CBSS countries was a record high in 2015. Even though the numbers of migrants entering the region decreased significantly in 2016, the situation has posed different challenges for the national authorities dealing with border controls, security issues, reception of migrants, identification of victims of trafficking, and integration policy, among others. In the aftermath of the situation, it is important to reflect experiences and lessons learned. Following the soft security approach enhanced efforts are needed to build and maintain a system of institutions and practices founded on dialogue, shared values and promotion of social inclusion and integration of migrants in all aspects and parts of the receiving society.

The purpose of the conference is hence threefold: It is up for discussion how a holistic approach in regards to migratory challenges can be improved, especially when focusing on transnational and cross-sectorial cooperation and capacity building. Secondly, the most important challenges and bottlenecks in migration management and early integration of migrants need to be identified. In connection to this, best practices with a focus on proactive measures, building trust and enhancing dialogue between authorities, migrants and the society as a whole will be presented during the conference. Finally, the conference will discuss what can be done to better address the complex situation of migrants, particularly of groups such as undocumented migrants, asylum seekers waiting for the final decision, victims of trafficking and exploitation.

Find the final report and more information here.

Conference on assistance to victims of human trafficking in the BSR

On 19 March 2014 the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), the CBSS Expert Group on Cooperation on Children at Risk and the CBSS Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings (TF-THB) organised a joint conference focusing on How to Enhance Assistance to Victims of Human Trafficking in The Baltic Sea Region. The one-day conference looked into existing cooperation models and how to best ensure adequate assistance to women and men, girls and boys in the Baltic Sea Region. The event, in addition to Cooperation Models, also specifically addressed Victim Assistance and Safe Housing Repatriation and Reintegration of victims. It attracted around 100 participants from the Baltic Sea Region, who work with these issues at operative as well as strategic level such as NGOs, National Coordinators and Rapporteurs, Law Enforcement, Social Services and International organisations. The conference was held at the Passitorni Venue in Helsinki and included panel discussions as well as brief sessions with group discussions. The conference was opened by Päivi Nerg, the Permanent Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of Interior followed by Key Note Speeches from Eva Biaudet, Ombudsman for Minorities and National Rapporteur of Trafficking in Human Beings, Finland as well as the EU Coordinator against Human Trafficking Myria Vassiliadou.

See the full agenda here.

Conference presentations:

Interview with the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Myria Vassiliadou at the event