Supplementary written evidence from the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
You asked for further information about what
UNMIK, HMG and other international organisations are doing to
combat human trafficking in Kosovo.
1. In recent years the turmoil in the Western
Balkans and in Kosovo in particular, has provided a breeding ground
for serious crime such as human trafficking. The countries of
the Western Balkans have become both significant transit and source
countries for illegal immigration into the EU. The UK is committed
to combating human trafficking in the Balkan region and globally.
Human Trafficking: Overall UK Strategy
2. HMG strategy encompasses a wide range
of actions, including prevention in source and transit countries,
co-operation with international partners, strengthening UK domestic
law, tackling criminals through intelligence and enforcement operations,
clamping down on illegal working and supporting the victims of
3. In 2000, Project Reflex, a practical
multi-agency task force was established in the UK to tackle all
forms of organised immigration crime. Led by the National Crime
Squad, Reflex brings together all the key government agencies
which are involved in this work, including the Immigration Service,
the Home Office, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, major
police forces, the security and intelligence agencies and the
FCO. Reflex quickly set up a network of over twenty Immigration
Liaison Officers, mainly in Europe, to work with other governments
and authorities to disrupt and dismantle smuggling and trafficking
gangs. Joint operational units have also been set up at Heathrow
and Gatwick where Immigration Service officers work alongside
4. The FCO contributes to the work of Reflex
by raising awareness abroad of the dangers of trafficking among
potential victims and host country authorities, and by reporting
on local trends. The UK has funded a range of projects in the
Western Balkans which have helped to raise the capacity of local
authorities to combat trafficking as well as to support its victims.
an anti-trafficking witness protection
and support project in Albania and a study on the role of women
in the Albania Police Force;
provision of equipment for the Anti-Human
Trafficking and Sexual Offences Unit in Bosnia;
provision of funding to enable selected
Serbian police officers to attend an OSCE conference on human
trafficking in Vienna.
5. The UK has ratified the key instruments
that outlaw slaverythe International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights,
the UN Slavery Convention and the International Labour Organisation
Conventions 29 and 105 on Forced Labour. We continue to promote
their widest possible ratification and implementation.
6. The United Nations Convention Against
Transnational Organised Crime came into force in September 2003.
Two of the three Protocols designed to improve co"operation
in the fight against migrant smuggling and trafficking in human
beings associated with it have also come into force. While the
UK has signed the Convention and its Protocols, there still remains
some primary legislation to be put in place before the UK can
go ahead with ratification. This will be done as soon as Parliamentary
7. The UK also works to combat organised
immigration crime through international organisations such as
the EU, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe
(OSCE), the Council of Europe, NATO, the International Organisation
for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Office for Drugs and
Crime (UNODC). Many of these organisations also fund their own
projects on human trafficking and smuggling.
8. Through the European Council's Framework
Decision on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in 2002, the
EU called on governments across the world to take concrete measures
and to intensify co-operation aimed at prevention of people trafficking
through to victim assistance.
Human Trafficking in Kosovo
9. In the past five years, Kosovo has become
a major destination and transit country for trafficked women and
girls forced into prostitution. The majority of these victims
are trafficked from elsewhere in South East Europe, particularly
Moldova and Romania. Passage into Kosovo is achieved primarily
from Serbia as well as from Macedonia (from the UNMIK report:
"Combating Human Trafficking in KosovoStrategy and
Commitment", May 2004)
10. In October 2000 IJNMIK established a
Trafficking and Prostitution Investigation Unit (TPIU). The TPIU
has regionally deployed Units, but is controlled centrally at
the UNMIK Police Main Headquarters. Central control has facilitated
the integration of the TPIU into the overall anti-organised crime
establishment of UNMIK Police that incorporates other specialised
units. The sharing of intelligence with the Central Intelligence
Unit (CIU) and the Kosovo Organised Crime Bureau (KOCB) has enhanced
the ability to track the movement of key organised crime operators
and has enabled joint regional operations and other investigations
by the specialised units in Kosovo. The Unit also works with UNMIK
Border Police to intercept human traffickers and their victims
at the various crossing points along the international border
and administrative boundary line.
11. The TPIU's responsibilities include
intelligence gathering, assistance to victims of trafficking,
and the identification of both traffickers and the establishments
where illegal trafficking/prostitution activities are occurring.
In addition, the Unit is responsible for the collation of evidence
and full support for the prosecution services to close down the
illegal establishments and bring the traffickers to justice. A
further key role of the Unit is to maintain and update the UNMIK
"Off Limits List" of businesses suspected of indulging
in prostitution which is produced at the end of each month and
is distributed to UNMIK and OSCE staff.
12. The TPIU currently has a strength of
26 international staff and 21 Kosovo police service staff. Although
this is a large increase since the unit was established in October
2000 with 22 staff, HMG believes the resource provided to the
unit is not sufficient and we are working closely with the UN
to secure an increase.
13. UNMIK is taking steps to protect the
victims of trafficking and seeks to ensure that proper assistance
and rehabilitation is provided. At the beginning of 2002 the Department
of Justice created a specialised "Victims Advocacy and Assistance
Unit" (VAAU). The VAAU in collaboration with the TPIU aims
to protect the victims of trafficking from further exploitation,
as well as providing interpretation, psychological, medical and
shelter support, regardless of any charges of prostitution or
of illegal entry that may be pending against them. The VAAU maintains
a database of potentially vulnerable foreign women working in
a variety of businesses across Kosovo, to monitor and assist potential
victims of trafficking. By the end of April 2004, 1261 names had
been registered on the database.
14. For the first time in its history, NATO
adopted a policy on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings at the
NATO Istanbul Summit in June 2004. A key part of this policy is
to ensure that all personnel taking part in NATO-led operations
receive appropriate training to make them aware of the problem
of trafficking, how it impacts on human rights, stability and
security. The training also informs them of their own responsibilities
in the field. NATO has an agreed implementation plan and is actively
working to implement fully its policy.
15. NATO has a supporting role in tackling
all forms of organised crime in both Bosnia and Kosovo, although
this assistance must be consistent with its mandate and the means
and capabilities of its forces. KFOR provides assistance to civil
organisations responsible for tackling organised crime, such as
the UNMIK TPIU, by the sharing of intelligence. Within this, the
UK has been at the forefront of this support, as other nations'
constraints on the use of their forces do not allow military participation.
The UK contribution to KFOR is a specialised unit, able to operate
KFOR-wide and ideally placed to provide this assistance.
16. UNMIK have worked with a number of organisations
to integrate its activities within wider regional initiatives.
17. In December 2003, the UK was heavily
involved in putting in place an OSCE Action Plan to Combat Trafficking
in Human Beings. The comprehensive Plan aims to address trafficking
through prevention, prosecution of criminals, international assistance
and protection of victims. A Special Representative, Helga Konrad,
was appointed on 13 May 2004 to head a special unit within the
OSCE. The OSCE runs projects in South Eastern Europe aimed at
building legal and technical capacity and raising awareness of
the problem whilst co-operating with other international organisations
and domestic groups.
18. UNMIK have worked closely with the Stability
Pact Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings (SPTF). The SPTF
is an instrument of co-ordination to encourage and strengthen
the co-operation among the countries of South Eastern Europe.
Although established in 2000, since May 2004 the task force has
come under the auspices of the OSCE.
19. UNMIK have also established contact
with the South East European Co-operation Initiative (SECI) Crime
Centre in Bucharest. The SECI centre aims to serve as a co-ordinating
hub for the transmission of information on crimes and criminals
from one signatory state to another. The TPIU has initiated direct
contact with police from the participating SECI states to share
intelligence. UNMIK have also signed police co-operation agreements
with all its neighbours.
20. The UK currently has over 100 police
officers in Kosovo, many of whom are attached to UNMIK's specialist
crime units. UK Officers are trained in diversity and bound to
a standard code of conduct. We are currently working on strengthening
awareness of trafficking and gender issues on pre-deployment training
21. The UK played a leading role in establishing
the CIU in Kosovo and continues to provide a high proportion of
its personnel (currently 12). The CIU was established within UNMIK
Police and has been operational since April 2001. The CIU is staffed
by 40 international intelligence specialists. The CIU develops
intelligence based target packs and shares information with KFOR
and Interpol. It has developed a detailed intelligence database
on those individuals who head or play a major role in organised
crime within Kosovo.
22. The UK has also invested more than half
a million pounds to provide the Kosovo Organised Crime Bureau
with surveillance and intercept equipment, which has played a
key part in disrupting a number of criminal operations. The KOCB
was created at the end of 2001 to serve as the operational arm
of the CIU and develops intelligence into evidence for criminal
Amnesty International Report
23. The Amnesty International Report of
6 May 2004 on human trafficking in Kosovo ("`So does that
mean I have rights': Protecting the human rights of women and
girls trafficked for forced prostitution in Kosovo") was
critical of UNMIK and KFOR's efforts to combat the problem. The
report made a number of recommendations which the UK welcomes,
though the majority of these reflect work already being planned
or carried out by the UK, the EU, the UN and NATO.
24. UNMIK and KFOR have both emphasised
that the report is based heavily on evidence from 1999-2001 and
concentrates less on recent progress. According to UNMIK figures,
in 2003 the TPIU conducted 2,047 raids, operations and bar checks
directed at premises where trafficking in persons and/or prostitution
activities were suspected. As a result of these raids 57 establishments
were closed down and 60 people were charged for trafficking (as
of May 04, of those charged, 16 had been convicted, 18 released
and 26 were awaiting trial).
What more can be done?
25. Despite this progress more needs to
be done. UNMIK recognise this and have identified a number of
strategic activities for future anti-trafficking efforts for the
immediate and foreseeable future (these are set out in the UNMIK
report "Combating Human Trafficking in KosovoStrategy
and Commitment" published in May 2004). These measures include
enhanced intelligence gathering and surveillance, public awareness
campaigns, a whistle-blowing hotline, mandatory training for prosecutors
and judges, as well as a greater emphasis on enhancing regional
co-operation. The Provisional Institutions of Self Government
(PISG) with the close co-operation of UNMIK are currently developing
an action plan to combat human trafficking which will clearly
define the roles and responsibilities of the various actors involved
and will incorporate a monitoring mechanism for its implementation.
26. The UK welcomes these measures and will
continue fully to support the work of UNMIK and KFOR in tackling
these abhorrent crimes.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
6 October 2004