What is the project about?


Accurately understanding the phenomenon of trafficking in human beings (THB) is a persisting challenge with serious consequences on the capacity of criminal and social justice systems to counter it. In part, this is due to the inherent complexity of the crime, comprising a series of offences and manifesting itself in various forms exploitation and modus operandi. At the same time, the resistanceand ability of organised crime groups (OCGs) to adapt to external environmental changes presents an additional challenge for all actors contributing to the prevention and countering of THB.

In the past two years, three factors have driven change in the modi operandi of traffickers, further complicating the collection of reliable data and thus the ability to provide targeted response mechanisms. The first of these is the increasing digitization of the trafficking chain, from the recruitment of victims and advertisement of trafficked services to exploitation itself and movement of the proceeds. The second is the Covid-19 pandemic, which worsened socio-economic vulnerability, expedited digitalization, and changed the geography and forms of exploitation. The final factor is the mass displacement and subsequent humanitarian challenges resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has left millions-in precarious economic situations and more vulnerable to taking risks for the promise of housing, employment, and stability. When preventing, investigating and prosecuting for THB, as well as when offering assistance and protection to its victims, it is fundamental that these particular vulnerabilities, be they due to sex, age, nationality, socio-economic status or any intersection of these and other factors, are taken adequately into account. Similarly, it is essential that external factors that affect the business models of traffickers are consistently monitored and responded, with particular reference to the digitalization of the trafficking chain.

This project is funded by the European Union.
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In the INTERCEPTED project CIRD will support IPoS in all relevant project tasks, especially all management and coordination activities.

The project will focus on two points of interception of the trafficking chain: recruitment and advertisement, consistently considering the ways in which methods differ in terms of language, platforms, targets, and strategies, according to the type of exploitation and profiles of the victims. INTERCEPTED focuses on disrupting the digital business models of traffickers, considering how evidence and strategies identified in the cyberspace can be used in concrete investigative, prevention, and protective measures in the physical world. It is aiming to strengthen the digital capabilities of law enforcement and judicial authorities in the framework of public-private cooperation, through a better and unbiased understanding of the phenomenon, an enhanced capacity to stay on-top of online trends from a technological and a policing perspective, and new tools for the detection and responses of recruitment forand advertisement of trafficked services online, fully exploiting the potentiality of the OSINT-HUMINT-SIGINT cycle.
INTERCEPTED will elicit key trends in online recruitment and advertisement for THB; design, develop and pilot customised investigative technologies for THB and develop all necessary training.

  • Objective 1: Elicit variation in the way the internet is used along the trafficking chain according to target victims’ profiles and types of exploitation.
  • Objective 2: Design an early interception tool specifically targeting the recruitment of victims and advertisement of services.
  • Objective 3: Enhance the capabilities of LEAs and Judiciary in public-private cooperation through the planning of OSINT Targeted counter-THB Campaign.
  • Objective 4: Establish a common European mechanism for the detection and reporting of suspected online recruitment or advertisement material, fostering strengthened multi-agency cooperation and rapid cross-border responses and ensuring successful use of digital evidence in court.
  • Objective 5: Strengthen the digital capacities and knowledge base of law enforcement.

local and regional authorities such as:

    • prosecutor offices,
    • LEAs,
    • municipalities managing welfare services,
    • labour inspectorate,
    • Internet Service Providers (ISPs),
    • CSOs and NGOs specialized in assistance to migrants and refugees, including minors and women.
  • Result/Impact/Outcome 1:
    Enhanced coordination of law enforcement authorities in cross-border operations and support multi-stakeholders coordinated response
  • Result/Impact/Outcome 2:
    Improved capacity for setting up joint investigations, cross-border referral mechanisms and judicial cooperation in the area of trafficking in human beings, involving also labour authorities, inspectorates and welfare agencies and ISPs (internet and technology companies) to prevent and counter online THB
  • Result/Impact/Outcome 3: 
    New and strengthened partnerships of public bodies and civil society, in order to harness innovation and expertise for the development of technology-based solutions to support prevention and combatting of trafficking inhuman beings
  • Procura della Repubblica presso il Tribunale di Trieste (Italy) – Coordinator
  • Hellenic Police (Greece)
  • Centro Meleton Asfaleias (Greece)
  • Fundation Euroarabe de altos estudios (Spain)
  • IPoS/HfÖV

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