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News Projects VANGUARD

VANGUARD consortium meets to share results

On April 22nd and 23rd, the entities associated in the VANGUARD project, financed by the Horizon Europe – Cluster 3 program “Civil security for society” whose objective is to strengthen the fight against Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) and in which the Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies participates, meet in Milan (Italy).

The Euro-Arab Foundation’s researcher Karen L. Hough participates in the meeting with the paper VANGUARD Road Ahead: Good practices for engagement of relevant actors and THB survivors: status, main activities and next steps, a discussion on cooperation with Civil Society Organizations and THB survivors, and the inclusion of their voices for three purposes: understanding, dismantling and raising awareness.

This second meeting of VANGUARD consortium also addresses aspects such as the current situation of online and offline THB crime and the next steps to be taken, the legal and ethical framework of VANGUARD and the validation of the project tools through pilot. Artificial Intelligence will serve as a tool for detection, identification, investigation and prevention of THB online and offline (e.g. at border checkpoints), applying computer vision and multimodal analysis.

The twenty-two members of VANGUARD consortium are expected to complete in 2026 this project that will enable to tackle one of the most serious transnational crimes, Trafficking in Human Beings, whose most predominant purpose within the European Union is sexual exploitation, followed by labour exploitation1.

  1. https://home-affairs.ec.europa.eu/policies/internal-security/organised-crime-and-human-trafficking/together-against-trafficking-human-beings_en ↩︎
Categories
EN Bigosint News Projects

Results of the BIGOSINT Anti-Trafficking in Human Beings project

The BIGOSINT project, funded by the European Commission’s Internal Security Fund and aimed at analysing, developing and applying Big Data and OSINT tools to combat Internet-based Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) networks, came to an end on 3 April at a conference in Bologna, Italy. The event was attended by representatives of the four partners that have developed this European project: the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Ordinary Court of Trento (Italy), coordinator of the project, Agenfor International (Italy), the University for Public Administration in Bremen (Germany) and the Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies (Spain).

In the presentation of the conclusions, it was stated that the way in which a follow-the-money approach to counterfeit documents can open the door to the identification of other crimes that are, with some frequency, related to THB. It was also indicated that, while the follow-the-money approach is essential, there is a clear need for more effort to be devoted to criminal investigation in the digital sphere, as the piloting of the platforms in Italy and Spain has shown.

One issue that has emerged from BIGOSINT’s work is the need to further explore how to interlink data more effectively and comprehensively, and how to work in a more centralised way. The project has also identified the need to foster more dynamic relations between prosecutors’ offices and law enforcement agencies, for which memoranda of understanding between these bodies are of great help. In this regard, the case of the Venice Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Venice Local Police, which have used the aforementioned digital platforms, provides a fruitful example. Another recommendation resulting from the project is to further reflect on the broadening and deepening of cooperation channels between different local, national and regional bodies and the European Commission.

Cases analysed

The Bremen University of Public Administration (HfÖV) has investigated several prostitution cases with the TANGLES and FAST platforms and suggests different ways in which these investigative tools could achieve greater efficiency.

For its part, the Local Police of Murcia has underlined the advantages that the investigation platforms offer in terms of coordination, efficiency and savings in material and human resources, giving as an example that a closed case (reckless races posted on Youtube) was investigated again with the help of the OSINT and TANGLES platforms and that in just one day and one police officer the same level of investigation has been reached that at the time required three officers and three weeks of work. Moreover, the effectiveness of these platforms in the investigation of other cases related to trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation has been noted.

The Trento Prosecutor’s Office, which presented the use of the platforms in cases of document forgery and trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation (caporalato) and their interrelationships, has highlighted the improvements that these digital platforms make available to the investigative work, as they allow access to information in a more comprehensive and agile way. It is more evident that, while each procedure has an autonomous life, connections can often be made between crimes that would have been more difficult and time-consuming to identify using more traditional methods. The lack of human resources has been pointed out as a reality that, while mitigating the use of these platforms, needs to be addressed with the creation of new jobs, both in prosecutors’ offices and in law enforcement. Likewise, these platforms allow for more dynamic, efficient and coordinated relations between the public prosecutor’s office and the security forces.

BIGOSINT recommends promoting the creation of single analysis centres, following the experience of the Venice Local Police.

Categories
EN Bigosint News Projects

The Euro-Arab Foundation will participate in the final conference of BIGOSINT against trafficking in human beings

On 3 April, BIGOSINT, a project funded by the European Commission’s Internal Security Fund, will conclude two years of work to combat human trafficking through the analysis of Big Data and OSINT (Open Source INTelligence) at a conference in the Italian city of Bologna. The event will be attended by representatives of the four partners that have developed this European project: the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Ordinary Court of Trento (Italy), coordinator of the project, Agenfor International (Italy), the University for Public Administration in Bremen (Germany) and the Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies (Spain).

Sergio Bianchi, Director of the Agenfor International Foundation, will be in charge of the opening with an overview of the project, the risk assessment in the cycle of smart tools for information collection and, together with Rihab Ben Ammar, the analysis of new human trafficking routes.

Afterwards, Marijke Paulien Van Reijsen from MBS Engineering will present an analysis and explain the use of FAST Data, a real-time Big Data process, in the context of preventing and breaking human trafficking networks. Gianni Franzoi, Senior Commissioner of the Venice Local Police, will give his experience with the multi-agency cooperation model and new tools and Yuval Sanders, Managing Director of Falkor Ltd., will give an overview of public-private prevention with a hands-on practice on the TANGLES platform.

In the afternoon session, Emanuele Florindi, an IT lawyer, will present applications for monitoring the financial activity of traffickers in cyberspace. José González Riera, researcher at the Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies and José Martínez Marín, from the Local Police of Murcia; Trygve Ben Holland, from the University for Public Administration in Bremen; Ivan Stenico and Nicola Cordeschi from the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Ordinary Court of Trento will present cases of trafficking in human beings for sexual exploitation, the investigation of online crime and the indicators (red flags) of trafficking.

The event will conclude with the presentation of the Social Engagement Report: Overview and Results by Naz Öztürk, Project Manager and OSINT Analyst at Agenfor International.

The final conference, which will be simultaneously interpreted English-Italian-English, can be followed online, for which registration is required: https://forms.gle/bfX6LDzD3YazbJ7U9

More information on the project: https://projects.fundea.org/bigosint/

Categories
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.