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EN Unchained News Projects VANGUARD VANGUARD

VANGUARD: Reinforcing the fight against THB

Twenty-two organisations from twelve different countries joined forces for a new Research and Innovation EU project, VANGUARD (adVANced technoloGical solutions coupled with societal-oriented Understanding and AwaReness for Disrupting trafficking in human beings).

VANGUARD is a three-year project, funded by the European Union under the Horizon Europe programme, which aims to strengthen the fight against trafficking in human beings (THB), at the nexus of advanced technological solutions of understanding, awareness raising, and training to disrupt the trafficking chain (online and offline) at an early stage and to address the culture of impunity. In addition, it aims to provide an improved intelligence picture of THB, with particular focus on THB for purposes of sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, and forced criminality.

This will be achieved through developing a modular and trustworthy suite of tools for detecting, identifying, investigating, and preventing online-facilitated THB activities and THB-related activities at (border) checkpoints based on the analysis of online multimedia content and multimodal streams, by leveraging the latest advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI).

CERTH-ITI, and in particular the Multimodal Data Fusion and Analytics Group (M4D), being the Coordinator of the VANGUARD project, together with the Visual Computing Lab (VCL) of CERTH-ITI, hosted the two-day kick-off meeting of the project on November 7 and 8, 2023 at their premises in Thessaloniki, Greece. More than 30 attendees representing all the partners from research and academic institutions, technology-oriented companies, and civil society organisations, as well as Police and Border Guard Authorities, had the opportunity to set up a clear action plan for the upcoming months, thus facilitating the fruitful and successful implementation of VANGUARD objectives. The kick-off meeting was also attended by the European Commission Project Officer who welcomed this attempt, underlining in parallel the need for continuous collaboration and a multidisciplinary approach to effectively tackle THB behaviours, resulting in effective policy making initiatives.

The Consortium

Coordinator: CERTH (EL); Partners: GGMH (DE), UCSC (IT), WAT (PL), KU Leuven (BE), ΚΕΜΕΑ (EL), CEA (FR), ICCS (EL), FUNDEA (ES), ENG (IT), ATOS IT (ES), ITTI (PL), RAD (RO), BayHfoD (DE), MJ (PT), MCH (ES), GPI (MD), HELLENIC POLICE (EL), EPBGB (EE), RBP (RO), GIBP (MD), CENTRIC (UK).

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EN Unchained News Projects

The UNCHAINED Project holds its Final Conference after more than three years of research on human trafficking

The UNCHAINED project is holding its final conference on Tuesday 25 July at the headquarters of the Agenfor agency in Milan (Italy) after three and a half years in operation. The conference, which is open to the public in an online format, will be attended by public authorities such as Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), judges and prosecutors.

During the day, the digital techniques developed by UNCHAINED to analyse and investigate the economic footprint that Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) leaves in cyberspace will be presented, thus improving participants’ skills to prevent and intercept trafficking more effectively.

The event will begin with a welcome address by Agenfor director Sergio Bianchi, who will give way to the intervention of Deputy Prosecutor of Padova Silvia Golin on International Cooperation on THB. This will be followed by the intervention of the Deputy Prosecutor of Venice, Lucia D’Alessandro, who will focus on her investigative experience on the Nigerian mafia and cultists.

The day will continue with a practical session on how to use the FAST platform to analyse the THB pathway led by the CEO of MBS Engineering Mauro Manolo Belmonte, and the presentations by Emanuele Florindi, Information Technology lawyer, on how to apply the money tracking approach in cyberspace, as well as Yuval Sanders, CEO of the software development company Falkor, who will speak on public-private cooperation for THB prevention. The conference will conclude with a round table on action patterns, pathways and synergies to prevent and counter human trafficking, with the participation of Venice, Padova and Milan prosecutors, police officers from Venice and THB researcher at John Hopkins University in the United States, Alexandra Malangone.

Since the start of 2023, the UNCHAINED project has delivered ‘Trainings for Trainers’ in the cities of Padua and Venice (Italy); in Athens (Greece); in Murcia (Spain) and in Bremen (Germany). Public authorities from all over Europe have thus benefited from these practical trainings where they have learned how to use the OSINT (Open Source Intelligence), HUMINT (Human Intelligence), SIGINT (Signals Intelligence), Big Data and FAST technology platforms for data analysis and human traffic monitoring. The training also included immersions in virtual reality and theoretical knowledge on the national and European human trafficking legal framework.

During this time UNCHAINED has also created a network of experts for the promotion of public-private cooperation between public authorities and private technology companies, which has been a success as significant synergies have been created, for example with the Local Police of Murcia.

The UNCHAINED project is funded by the European Commission under the Internal Security Fund – Police. The Consortium is coordinated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Padua and formed by the Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies (Spain), the AGENFOR International Agency (Italy), the Center for Security Studies KEMEA (Greece) and the School of Public Administration (HfÖV) of Bremen (Germany).

Link to connect to UNCHAINED final conference: https://admin.rafikyconnect.net/l-rafikyconnect-091-460-5648 (Important: It is required the use of Google Chrome)

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EN Unchained Projects

Recognition by the Murcia Local Police for the cooperation with the Euro-Arab Foundation in the UNCHAINED project on Human Trafficking

With this recognition, the Murcia Police, host of the UNCHAINED training, highlights the good synergies that have occurred in the trainings that the Euro-Arab Foundation and Agenfor have developed this past Tuesday in Murcia, on July 11th, as well as in the training of trainers that took place last February in Venice, which they also attended.

This week’s training in Murcia covered topics such as European judicial cooperation in the fight against Trafficking in Human Beings (THB), as well as practical sessions on the use of the technological platforms OSINT (Open Source Intelligence), HUMINT (Human Intelligence) and FAST for data analysis and monitoring of THB. A specific section on Virtual Reality immersion has also been included.

A moment of the training given this week in Murcia to the Local Police.

Combating Trafficking in Human Beings with a money-tracing approach

The dynamic THB nature and the plurality and complexity of its forms make it particularly difficult to investigate. However, these highly lucrative crimes are very difficult to operate without leaving an economic footprint.

In this sense, the European UNCHAINED project aims to improve the capacity of experts and investigators operating within anti-trafficking, organised and financial crime investigation units to use financial enquiries and macro-data analysis in suspected cases of THB.

Training is also an important part of this project, and work has been done on the creation of a European network of experts and trainers who can maintain the training that has been carried out beyond the end of the project itself.

The UNCHAINED project, led by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Padua, is financed by the Internal Security Fund of the European Commission and its consortium is made up of members from Spain, Italy, Greece and Germany.

The researcher Jose María González Riera and Miguel Pérez, inspector of the Local Police of Murcia, holding the plaque awarded to the Euro-Arab Foundation.

Photos: Communication – Local Police Murcia City Council.

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EN Bigosint News Projects

Steering Committee Meeting of BIGOSINT project against Human Trafficking

The partners of BIGOSINT, a project dedicated to the fight against Human Trafficking through Big Data and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) analysis, met on 22 June in Bremen, Germany, for a regular session where they updated on the progress of the different work packages and future activities.

The project, which started in January 2022 and will end in January next year, aims to improve investigations into human trafficking on the internet by analysing how the characteristics of the cyber environment affect the Human Trafficking chain. For that purpose, BIGOSINT combines technological tools such as OSINT and cryptocurrency analysis with the FAST platform to detect existing online markets and networks, collect human-rights compliant digital evidence, share information and develop enforcement countermeasures by leveraging on public-private partnership.

BIGOSINT Consortium members at the steering meeting in Bremen, Germany.

During the meeting there was a review of the project management and coordination carried out by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Trento, coordinator of the project. Each member updated the status of the different work packages, such as the sustained service delivery led by HFÖV, the dissemination strategy, sustainability and transferability of BIGOSINT as well as the integrated FAST platform for cybercrime investigation, management and coordination, led by AGENFOR, or the work package led by the Euro-Arab Foundation, dedicated to understanding the investigation cycle of Human Trafficking. The session will end with an open debate and final conclusions.

Currently, training sessions are being jointly prepared in the framework of the BIGOSINT and UNCHAINED projects, which will take place on 11 and 12 of July in the city of Murcia, Spain, and on 19 July in Bremen, Germany, for law enforcement and judicial officers. The training consists of practical sessions where participants will be trained in the use of the technological tools OSINT and the FAST platform. In addition, a Virtual Reality immersion will be carried out to combat the chain of human trafficking in cyberspace.

After these trainings, the tools involved will be tested for 5 months by the security forces in order to implement them on a daily basis and thus improve their skills in the fight against trafficking in human beings.

For more information about BIGOSINT, visit the official website: https://www.bigosintproject.eu/
And follow the project on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigosint

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EN Standup Intercepted News Projects

The Euro-Arab Foundation strengthens its commitment against Human Trafficking with the INTERCEPTED project

The new european project INTERCEPTED held its kick-off meeting on April 27 in Trieste, Italy, where consortium partners presented the project, which aims to disrupt the digital business model of human traffickers by enhancing the capabilities of law enforcement and judicial authorities.

At the inaugural meeting the partners presented the different work packages of the project, in which the Euro-Arab Foundation is leading the Communication and Dissemination work package. The INTERCEPTED consortium is led by the Prosecutor Office of Trieste, Italy (TSJudPol) and is composed by the Hellenic Police of Greece (HP), the German Police Academy (HfÖV), the Euro-Arab Foundation of Granada, Spain, the KEMEA Center for Security Studies in Greece and the foundation Agenfor International of Italy.

To disrupt human trafficking, INTERCEPTED focuses particularly on two key points: the recruitment and advertisement that exist on the Internet and the different strategies used by traffickers, according to the diverse types of exploitation and victim profiles. In order to achieve this goal, INTERCEPTED aims to:

  1. Elicit variation in the way the internet is used along the trafficking chain according to target victims’ profiles and types of exploitation.
  2. Design an early interception tool specifically targeting the recruitment of victims and advertisement of services.
  3. Enhance the capabilities of LEAs and Judiciary in public-private cooperation through the planning of OSINT Targeted counter-THB Campaigns.
  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.
  5. Strengthen the digital capacities and knowledge base of law enforcement.

INTERCEPTED is conceived as an evolution of the UNCHAINED and BIGOSINT projects, which share the objective of disrupting the online business of Human Trafficking, and also draws on the results and synergies obtained from the MIRROR and PERCEPTIONS projects, in which some of the partners have coincided and collaborated.

The INTERCEPTED project is co-financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), the Internal Security Fund (ISF) and the Border Management and Visa Instrument (BMVI) of the European Union.