Learning by doing: anti-trafficking practitioners across the Baltic Sea Region take part in week-long regional simulation training

Anti-trafficking experts from the Baltic Sea Region engage in intensive week-long simulation training jointly organised by the CBSS and the OSCE in Germany.

More than 50 professionals from five countries participated in a week-long simulation-based training exercise on combating trafficking in human beings in Brühl, Germany this week, marking the first such regional training between the OSCE and the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS).

“Measures seeking to raise the competence and readiness of frontlines workers, authorities and organisations to tackle this serious threat and protect those exploited are crucial and is therefore a priority for the CBSS and its Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings (TF-THB)”, said Gustav Lindström, Deputy Director General of the CBSS, during his closing remarks on Friday. “In this respect, it is crucial that anti-trafficking stakeholders, states and international organisations, establish partnerships to ensure a streamlined approach and joint efforts. Against this background, I am proud that the CBSS and OSCE are organising this first regional Baltic Sea simulation-based training here in Brüh”, he emphasised.

The training, which sought to enhance the capacity of participants to effectively identify and assist victims and prosecute perpetrators, placed particular emphasis on deploying a trauma-informed approach to dealing with victims of trafficking. 

The simulation marked the first such event attended by the new OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Dr. Kari Johnstone.

“Since 2015, we’ve trained over 600 practitioners from 68 countries, and we are seeing increased interest in replicating this format at national and regional levels. Our simulation-based training has continued to evolve to address the ever-changing landscape of human trafficking, and I am excited about the impact we can collectively make in the fight against this heinous crime,” said Dr. Johnstone in her closing remarks. 

Practitioners representing law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, social service providers, civil society organizations and asylum agencies from Finland, Germany, Iceland, Lithuania, and Sweden engaged in hands-on simulation-based trainings on the most commonly identified forms of trafficking in the Baltic Sea region, including labour exploitation, forced criminality and child trafficking. 

Live-action, simulated scenarios helped practitioners identify and investigate complex cases of human trafficking within a fictional world, with its own national laws, standard operating procedures, and profiles of victims and perpetrators.

The Office of the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings has successfully implemented twelve national, one regional and six international simulation-based training exercises so far. They contribute to ongoing efforts to identify and assist victims through a multi-national and cross-sectoral approach.

Enabling transnational cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region to effectively combat trafficking in human beings, a cross-border phenomenon, is one key priority of the Council of the Baltic Sea States.