Project „FLOW“ helps to investigate and prevent trafficking in human beings
The new EU-funded project FLOW promotes a holistic approach to the prevention and investigation of trafficking in human beings (THB) in conjunction with economic crime.
The project partners are University of Tartu School of Law, European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control (HEUNI) from Finland, the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) from Bulgaria and Ministry of Interior of Latvia.
The project manager in Estonia is Anna Markina, Research Fellow of Criminology at the School of Law.
"FLOW is our third project dealing with the problem of human trafficking. When we started with this topic in the mid-2000s, the awareness of trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation was very low: people either didn’t know or they didn’t want to talk about it. During the recession of 2008 many Estonians were forced to seek employment from other countries, especially from Finland, and as a result the problem became more relevant for Estonia. Today, we have reached the stage where Estonia is also a host country for foreign workers and the problem of labour exploitation affects us both ways," explained Anna Markina.
The FLOW project deals with trafficking in human beings in conjunction with economic crime, as they are very closely linked. "As human trafficking is often accompanied by paying salaries under the table and other forms of tax evasion, monitoring flows of illicit funds is one way to identify such crimes and to prosecute the beneficiaries," said Anna Markina.
The objectives of the two-year project are to improve the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate THB and identify victims, to improve cooperation between police and labor inspectors and to raise awareness among businesses of the risks of THB in supply chains and their ability to prevent THB.