Trafficking: Tailoring MIEUX’s support to the realities of different countries (2/3)

Images taken during the MIEUX missions
Different moments during the MIEUX missions, April 2018


MIEUX received requests from the Governments of Ghana, Timor-Leste and Thailand to strengthen their capacities in the areas of investigation, referral and prosecution of cases of Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) and protection of trafficked people, according to a human rights-based approach and in line with international standards.

However, each country has a very different profile in terms of institutions, legal frameworks and trafficking trends, as we described yesterday. How does MIEUX go about designing a tailored solution to cater to the real needs on the ground? That is the subject of today’s article. Tomorrow we will delve into how these actions connect with the “bigger picture” of human trafficking as a topic of crucial importance in global migration governance agendas.

As a capacity-building initiative, MIEUX makes use of a range of traditional training methodologies, as well as innovative and tailored solutions, targeted according to the theme and scope of each Action. After receiving a request for support, each MIEUX Action is formulated based on best practices in international development cooperation, with peer-to-peer knowledge exchange as a key focus. A consultative process guarantees that the European Commission Directorates that are part of the Project Steering Group, the requesting institution in the partner country and the MIEUX team are all involved in designing the Action.

As noted by Oleg Chirita, ICMPD Programme Coordinator of Global Initiatives,

MIEUX is a mechanism to support partner countries on any topic of migration management where they wish to strengthen capacities. In terms of anti-trafficking, we work on all key areas of the “4Ps” approach: Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnership. Over the last 10 years, our practices have been constantly adapted, optimised and redesigned in order to serve our partners’ wider objectives.”

The final outcome of each Action is different according to each request: from organising training sessions to producing documents such as handbooks, manuals, and training materials. Increasingly, MIEUX is also involved in policy development, notably in the West Africa region.

Each MIEUX Action is broken down into a sequence of six or seven activities: information exchange workshops, study visits and drafting support sessions feature regularly, as well as some ad-hoc activities tailored to the needs of the various countries, such as fact-finding missions and document finalisation sessions in the case of policies. A team of experts from government institutions in European and non-European countries as well as independent contractors and academics are selected and deployed to carry out the activities.

On this occasion, MIEUX organised an information exchange workshop in Ghana, and two study visits, one to the Netherlands and one to Thailand.    

Ghana: Information exchange is crucial for peer-to-peer learning

During the last week of April, Romain Gustot, Project Officer and MIEUX Regional Coordinator for the EU Neighbourhood was in Accra together with our colleague from the ICMPD Anti-Trafficking Programme, Madis Vainomaa, and John Linehan, a former Chief Immigration Officer at the UK Border Agency, to deliver a workshop on “Detection, Investigation and Referral of THB Victims”.

In line with MIEUX’s approach of peer-to-peer knowledge exchange, the team first presented good practices and examples from other countries on the detection of cross-border and internal trafficking, identification and protection of trafficked people and investigation, prosecution and conviction of traffickers. The Ghanaian participants then provided our team with inputs about the existing legislative and operational framework in Ghana, to feed into the development of the final outcome of this Action, an Anti-Trafficking Training Module for the Ghana Immigration Service, in close coordination with the Police Service, the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection and the Ministry of Labour.

Reflecting on the coordination that he witnessed, Mr Gustot stated,

During this workshop, I witnessed a sharing of knowledge and good practices not only between the EU and Ghana but also among the various Ghanaian institutions and services involved on THB. Although the Training Module will be first and foremost for the GIS officers, a lot of ideas and suggestions came from police officers and social workers to foster closer inter-institutional relations on this transversal topic. This is peer-to-peer learning at its finest!”

Thailand: developing current mechanisms for protection

Luigi Fabbri, Project Officer in charge of this Action, accompanied a Thai delegation on a study visit to the Netherlands to various Dutch institutions, from Ministries to civil society organisations to the judiciary. The interest of the requesting authority, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand, was to acquire more knowledge about the prevention of trafficking cases and protection of trafficked people, taking into account child protection, gender aspects and dealing with trauma. The study visit was therefore planned in such a way as to offer a comprehensive overview of how the various actors involved in victim protection interact at national, regional and local levels in the Netherlands. The visit presented interesting examples for further inspiration, adaptation and application to the local context in Thailand.

Thinking back to the range of institutions selected for the study visit Mr Fabbri stated,

It was really exciting to meet so many interesting institutions and organisations: from key institutional actors such as the Ministry of Justice and Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Police and the Office of the National Rapporteur, to dynamic organisations such as CKM, HVO Querido, CoMensha, NIDOS and Centrum 16 22. All these stakeholders are working so passionately to offer an effective response to the challenge of preventing THB and protecting victims of trafficking through an actual victim-centred approach.”

Specifically, on the topic of protection, the Thai authorities were very interested in learning from their European counterparts about referral mechanisms for trafficked people, and mechanisms for the protection of unaccompanied and separated children who are trafficked. In order to respond to these needs, the MIEUX activity was designed to include a visit to NIDOS, a local NGO that is a member of the European Network of Guardianship Institutions to provide examples of how the guardianship system works in the Netherlands to the Thai authorities.

The end result of this Action will be the development of three brochures on the subjects of child trafficking; gender-based approach to THB; and identifying and treating psychological trauma among trafficked people. These brochures are designed to assist the personnel working in shelters for victims of trafficking in Thailand in carrying out their daily tasks, improving targeted assistance by applying a human rights-based approach in line with international standards.

Timor-Leste: learning from one another in Southeast Asia

Caterina Torchiaro, Project Officer and MIEUX Regional Coordinator for Asia, accompanied a Timorese delegation to Thailand to learn about the ongoing efforts and practices that their fellow Southeast Asian country has implemented in combatting trafficking and conducting investigation of trafficking-related offences.

The exchange of knowledge and practices is embedded within MIEUX’s approach: study visits are a way of showcasing the efforts, strategies and practices that government officials implement as part of their regular work.

As Ms Torchiaro notes,

This study visit was an occasion for Timor-Leste and Thailand for coming together as peers to find possible solutions to THB. This type of South-South cooperation fosters existing and creates new links between neighbouring countries, contributing to overall regional cooperation frameworks.”

Tomorrow we will link these Actions with discussions at a national, regional and international level on combating trafficking in the final instalment of this three-part feature on human trafficking.

Are you working on anti-trafficking?  Do you find this three-part series interesting? Share, comment and follow the conversation on our Facebook and Twitter profiles.

Why this article?

Ghana, Timor-Leste and Thailand: three countries with very different migration profiles, but all facing challenges when it comes to combatting Trafficking in Human Beings (THB).During the last week of April, MIEUX organised three simultaneous activities part of respective Actions focused on anti-trafficking. To mark the occasion, we are featuring a three-part article showcasing these Actions as examples of what capacity-building activities can achieve in the fight against trafficking.

Read the three-part series

Trafficking: understanding the context (1/3)

Find out more

Our work in Asia

Our work in Central and Western Africa 

 Related links

ICMPD Anti-Trafficking Programme webpage

 Council of Europe Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings webpage