Task Force Mirage on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration :: Task Forces :: Operational Activities

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Task Force Mirage on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration

Coordinator: Romania
Established: May 2000

Main Activities

2017

24th Meeting of the Task Force on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration, 23 May 2017, Bucharest/Romania

2016

23rd Meeting of Mirage Task Force on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration, 25-26 May 2016, Bucharest/Romania

2015

22nd Meeting of Task Force Mirage on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration, 18 June 2015, Bucharest, Romania

2014

21st Meeting of Mirage Task Force on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration, 19 June 2014, Bucharest, Romania

2013

20th Meeting of Mirage Task Force on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration, 25 June 2013, Bucharest, Romania

2012

19th Meeting of Mirage Task Force on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling, 17 October 2012, Bucharest, Romania

2011

18th Meeting of Mirage Task Force on Trafficking of Human Beings and Migrants Smuggling, 1-2 November 2011, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

2010

The 17th Mirage Task Force Meeting, 19-20 of October, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
During the meeting, the 2009 Report on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants in SEE was presented.

19 operational meetings and activities at international level

Joint Investigations

A total number of 10 joint investigations and 2 additional operational/working meetings were supported by SECI Center under the umbrella of the Mirage Task Force, such as:

Joint investigation SATAR - smuggling of illegal migrants, cooperation of law enforcement agencies from Moldova and Romania;
Joint investigation TARA - follow up - illegal migration, cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey
Joint investigation among Moldovan and Romanian authorities - smuggling of migrants case

SECI Center gave support for the testimony of a Moldovan victim of THB in a penal court in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The SECI Center video conference facilities were used for this purpose.

2009

The 16th Mirage Task Force Meeting, 19th of May, Bucharest, Romania
The 2008 SECI Center Report on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling was presented during the meeting.

15 international meetings and activities

One week Training on Organized Crime and THB was organized by FBI at the Training Center in Skopje.

Joint Investigations

Along 2009, 8 operational meetings on combating illegal migration were attended by case officers in order to better identify the connections among cases under investigation in different countries. 7 joint investigations were coordinated with the support of SECI Center:

Operation TARA - illegal migration case, with the participation of law enforcement authorities from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey and Austria
52 Persons Detained in 4 Countries during Operation TARA
Operation KANIS - illegal migration case, cooperation between Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia
Operation BLUE WOLF - among Hungary, Romania and Austria on illegal migration

2008

During the 15th Mirage Task Force Meeting, the Report on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants was presented.
Fewer Victims of Human Beings Trafficking in the SECI Center Region

21 international meetings and activities

Joint Investigations

7 operational meetings were attended by the law enforcement authorities of the member countries. Operational information was exchanged and decisions were made on the prioritization and merger of some ongoing national investigations into regional joint investigations to be supported by SECI Center. 10 joint investigations took place in 2008, under SECI Center coordination.

Operation DORA - illegal transportation of migrants, involving Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania and Serbia Illegal Migration Organized Group Dismantled
Operation PIGEON - Romanian and Hungarian Authorities Dismantled Migrant Smuggling Network
Operation PARADISE - among Albania, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy
Operation DRAGON - among Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia

Background

Understanding the threat posed by human trafficking to the region, the SECI Center engaged a lot of its resources in establishing in the year 2000 a specialized Task Force on human trafficking. Throughout the time, this Task Force has acquired remarkable successes and extended its cooperation network.

Mirage

Operation MIRAGE 2002 was the first regionally coordinated and conducted activity within South Eastern Europe in the field of Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration. Also it was the first time when Law Enforcement agencies, International Organizations and institutions such as IOM and Stability Pact as well as Non- governmental Organizations worked together on a national and regional level.

The scope of the region - wide initiative was to assist victims of human trafficking and dismantle trafficking networks.

The expected results have been fulfilled from the first operation: the temporary suppression of trafficking, initiation of investigations against criminals who deal with trafficked women and smuggle people and liberation of numerous women from sexual slavery and ultimately repatriation to home.

Due to the success of the operation, the Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration was named "Mirage".

1,301 victims identified, 191 victims assisted and 509 traffickers charged as a result of the information exchanged and tactical measures taken by the police forces during the Mirage operations in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Starting with 2004, the SECI Center has shifted its action and started to lead the region into the next phase of cooperation by decisions based on strategic analysis and by coordinating joint investigations. Based on the member countries' needs, a new concept of operation was introduced in 2004, to address also the urgent issue of illegal migration and human smuggling organizations.

The SECI Center approach to the illegal migration issue in the region is that of an expert service provider. Thinking regionally and developing strategic knowledge about the common threat is followed by action according to the member countries' needs, by offering a friendly cooperation environment in order to share information and organize common investigations, operations and trainings.

Witness protection

In the framework of this Task Force, the SECI Center supported the judicial process of the identification of the victims of human trafficking in their origin country and assisted their travel as witnesses in trials against their traffickers.

Thus 22 victims testified as witnesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina , the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro during 2004 and 2005, with the SECI Center assistance.

For the first time in South East Europe, one witness testified by a video-conference system from Moldova for a court in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (2005).

In 2006 SECI Center continued its special witness program in supporting regional judicial process, as a result, one Romanian victim of human trafficking testified against her traffickers in a court in Gradacac ( Bosnia and Herzegovina ).

Witness testimony is one of the most valuable evidence in convicting criminals; that is why SECI Center developed such a program, having as main objectives: protection, assistance, transportation, and facilitation of testimony of witnesses in order to support and facilitate the regional judicial process and cooperation.

The program have already had huge successes in previous years, " firsts" being established: the first time a witness had ever been transported to Bosnia & Herzegovina to testify, the first time a witness was protected pursuant to Bosnia & Herzegovina's enacted witness protection law, and the first time a witness testified anonymously, behind a screen; the first time a videoconference system - active at the SECI Center - was used for witness testimony.