The Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Latvia is hosting the first meeting of the Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS TF-THB) under the Latvian Presidency on 26 – 27 September, 2018.
Current work and planned activities of the Task Force are strongly linked with the priority “Integrity and Societal Security” set by the Latvian Presidency which aims at facilitating harmonized actions in the Baltic Sea Region when facing threats to public security, strengthening of cooperation and continuing initiatives in the field of civil protection, the fight against trafficking in human beings and organized crime, as well as border management.
Human trafficking remains a topical issue for the countries in the Baltic Sea Region. Effective prevention depends on mutual trust between all stakeholders involved in counteracting these crimes and providing timely assistance to victims. Integrity and ability to establish mutual trust between all actors involved are the most important issues that need to be promoted by joint efforts. Further steps are necessary to increase an understanding of victims’ rights, to strengthen investigation and prosecution, and effective handling of trafficking cases by the judiciary. Strengthening the role of local actors, in particular journalists when explaining and referring to trafficking, to aid the prevention of trafficking in human beings. The work on the development of a TRM (Transnational Referral Mechanism) for the Baltic Sea Region will be continued by the CBSS Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings (TF-THB) in cooperation with the CBSS Children at Risk Group (CAR).
Opening the meeting the State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior Mr Dimitrijs Trofimovs thanked the Task Force for its efficient anti-trafficking work and project implementation which has resulted in more identified and assisted victims. He stressed the importance attached by Latvia of the confiscation of assets from criminality and how it is one effective tool to challenge and disrupt the trafficking modus operandi.
Ambassador-at-Large, Chair of the CBSS Committee of Senior Officials Mr Juris Bone appreciated the inclusive hands-on approach of the Task Force, especially its work with civil society to prevent and fight against trafficking.
The Latvian Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States started on July 1, 2018 and will end on June 30, 2019. The National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, TF-THB Chair Ms Lasma Stabina informed that the Ministry of the Interior will host three Task-Force meetings during the Presidency and an international conference “Human trafficking – a crime with too few convictions and too many victims” on February 21 – 22, 2019 which will focus on prosecution of human trafficking cases and victim’s rights in legal proceedings.
The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) is an overall political forum for regional inter-governmental cooperation. Members are the eleven states of the Baltic Sea Region: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, as well as the European Union.