HSI, IRS-CI train German, Swiss officials on human trafficking investigative techniques
WASHINGTON — As the United Nations prepares to commemorate World Day Against Trafficking in Persons July 30, a team of U.S. federal investigators from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) are in Frankfurt, Germany, this week to train German law enforcement counterparts on the latest investigative techniques to combat human trafficking.
U.S. Mission Germany hosted approximately 20 prosecutors and law enforcement officials from the State Criminal Police Offices of Berlin, Saxony, and Hesse; the German Federal Police; the German Federal Criminal Police, and the Financial Intelligence Unit for one-day training, July 28. Swiss non-governmental organization Trafficked Victim Unit also attended. Participants learned how to recognize indicators and trace financial transactions linked to human trafficking.
After spending three years at Tier 2, the U.S. Department of State’s 2022 Trafficking in Persons report has upgraded Germany to a Tier 1 country, noting it now complies with The Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards. In the past year, in Germany, more traffickers were prosecuted and convicted than in previous years, and law enforcement enhanced efforts to combat labor trafficking when compared to the prior year. Additionally, Germany’s Youth Protection Act became effective in May 2021, which increased preventative protections for children against cyber grooming and potential sex trafficking.
“Almost all criminal activity involves a financial component,” said Kareem Carter, acting executive director for IRS-CI Global Operations and Policy Support. “That’s why it’s important to understand how to analyze suspicious transactions and identify money laundering indicators when investigating trafficking crimes.”
Traffickers continue to exploit domestic and foreign victims in Germany, and global crises place already vulnerable persons at increased risk. The pandemic complicated detection of human trafficking activities by increasing isolation of migrant and seasonal workers, as well as sex trafficking victims. Traffickers prey on migrants and refugees upon arrival. In 2022, Ukrainian refugees, predominantly women and children, fleeing Russia’s war on Ukraine have become vulnerable to trafficking.
To counter these and other trends the Trafficking in Persons report makes annual recommendations to further each government’s anti-trafficking efforts. The 2022 Trafficking in Persons report encourages Germany to increase its efforts to pursue financial crime investigations in tandem with human trafficking cases.
About Homeland Security Investigations
HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). HSI is responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 86 overseas locations in 55 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.
About the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI)
IRS-CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. IRS-CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, boasting a nearly 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.
Learn more about HSI’s mission to combat human trafficking in your community, on Twitter @HSI_HQ.