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Trafficking in Human Beings: Identification of Potential and Presumed Victims. A Community Policing Approach


This guidebook calls for a new community policing approach to victim identification that would provide a solid platform for the broader involvement of various public institutions, civil society groups and community representatives in the identification of trafficked persons. This is the Volume 10 in the SPMU Publication Series.


The timely and proper identification of presumed victims of human trafficking is of paramount importance to ensuring that victims receive the assistance to which they are entitled. It is also crucial to the effective prosecution of the crime. The identification of potential victims can disrupt the trafficking process before it even starts and thus prevent the exploitation of vulnerable individuals.

The community policing tools provided in this guidebook should help to address the challenges of preliminary identification of presumed and potential trafficking victims.

The guidebook is divided into eight chapters. Chapter One underlines the necessity of developing a common list of indicators to provide a basis for multi-agency co-operation in victim identification. Chapter Two establishes a link between victim identification and the legal definition of human trafficking and focuses on the main principles that have to be taken into consideration when approaching the problem. Chapter Three addresses different aspects of the community policing approach to victim identification. Chapter Four focuses on characteristics of victims and difficulties faced by those who deal with identification of potential and presumed victims. Chapters Five and Six divide the trafficking process into pre-exploitation and exploitation phases and provide lists of certain indicators that refer to victims in these respective phases. These two chapters also provide guidance for community police officers on how to identify signs of trafficking situations and how to respond to these situations. Chapter Seven provides recommendations for law enforcement capacity development in the area of victim identification. Chapter Eight emphasizes that community policing can provide a more nuanced and comprehensive approach to victim identification than those used separately by the police and their partners. As a result, they will be able to identify, reach out to and assist more victims and potential victims of trafficking in persons.