Diritto Criminologia e criminalistica




Tomasz Safjański[i]

Mariusz Michalski[ii]

Forced labour is not the subject of separate regulations in transnational public laws but it constitutes one of the wider forms of offence described as human trafficking. The problem of forced labour is outlined in the following documents:

  • Article 3 letters a – c of Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime of 15th November 2000 (Palermo Protocol)[iii];
  • Article 4 of Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, drafted in Warsaw on 16th May 2005 (Warsaw Convention)[iv];
  • Article 1 section 1 of Council of Europe Convention Framework Decision (2002/629/WSiSW) from 19th July 2002 against Trafficking in Human Beings[v].

Taking the advantage of people for forced labour in industry other than sex industry involves translocation of people for long distances and multiple borders crossing. Organised crime groups specialising in forced labour follow the rule that the country of origin of a recruited person should not be the country of their forced labour. As a result, offenders right after recruitment, often relocate victims to the territory of other country. Taking the above into consideration, it must be stated that effectiveness of forced labour offence detection involves conducting coordinated activities of law enforcement authorities in the countries of origin, transit and exploitation. This results in the need of cross-border mechanisms of cooperation on both the operational and legal level of proceedings.

The principal elements of the support of EUROJUST  and EUROPOL are illustrated by the example of  operation „Terra  Promesa” dealing with forced labour camps in the region of Apulia in Italy where Polish citizens were exploited. Particularly in harvesting field and vegetable crops in Orta Nova, Foggia and Ceriniola regions. Most of the suspects involved in participation in organised crime group originated from Italy.

Joint action of Polish and Italian law enforcement authorities was conducted in the form of mirror investigation. I Poland the investigation was led by Municipal Police Station in Cracow supervised by District Prosecutor’s Office in Cracow. Whereas in Italy it was led by the special unit of R.O.S. Carabinieri under the supervision of Anti-mafia Prosecutor in Bari.

Mirror investigation is a form of police and prosecutor’s cooperation enabling them to initiate indirect cooperation between law enforcement authorities of two member states of the EU in the situation where immediate legal action is required on the territory of both countries. The above-mentioned investigation is applicable in particular before establishing joint investigation team or in a situation where there are certain limitations in forming joint investigation team (due to economic or procedural policy). The mirror investigation is based on selected competence of EUROJUST[vi] (European Judicial Cooperation Unit) and EUROPOL[vii] (European Police Office).

The role of EUROJUST in the respective case was to improve the Polish – Italian cooperation based on guided activities to bring to justice the offenders of described crime. One of the major mechanisms used in “Terra Promesa” operation were the coordinating meetings with the participation of the countries’ prosecutors who led the investigations. The meetings took place in EUROJUST headquarters in Hague. Among the participants were Polish and Italian police officers as well as representatives of EUROPOL.

During the ongoing meetings all the newly developed problems were discussed which emerged while the investigations were carried out within different  jurisdictions, bearing in mind any potential outcomes of conflicts in jurisdiction when it came to executing an European arrest warrant. With the support of EUROJUST 15 European arrest warrants were issued concerning forced labour.

In addition to that, within the policy of EUROJUST, a transnational team of analysts came into existence and was responsible for detailed analysis of materials gathered during the investigation by both Polish and Italian police. Representatives of EUROPOL also participated in working group. The cooperation was mainly realised with the use of criminal intelligence activities i.e. exchanging criminal records[viii] and operational analysis[ix] and the involvement of operation liaison officers[x]. Analysts prepared the findings on the basis of the EUROPOL Information System.

During the implementation of the operation „Terra Promesa”, thanks to EUROJUST i EUROPOL, 30 persons suspected of committing the crime of human trafficking and 119 victims of the given crime (held as “slaves” in forced trade camps in the region of Apuilia) were released.

It must be stated that Polish party offered Italian party the preparation of the contract establishing joint investigation team. It did not come to life due to obstacles of formal nature[xi].

In authors’ judgement, the establishment of joint investigation team enabled EUROJUST and EUROPOL to provide full support.

EUROPOL representatives may participate in joint investigation teams’ proceedings established to deal with human trafficking issues. Detailed regulations of EUROPOL representatives’ participation as well as conditions to be fulfilled in order to be placed at joint investigation team’s disposal are included in the agreement between the Director of EUROPOL and the Member States’ competent authorities participating in the joint investigation team, with the involvement of the national units (co-called agreement upon range of proceedings).

The Management Board specifies regulations of such agreements[xii].

EUROPOL staff may, within the limits provided for by the law of the Member States in which a joint investigation team is operating and in accordance with the arrangement, assist in all activities and exchange information with all members of the joint investigation team. They shall not, however, take part in the taking of any coercive measures[xiii].

In accordance with the arrangement, EUROPOL staff may liaise directly with members of a joint investigation team and provide members and seconded members of the joint investigation team, with information from any of the components of the information processing systems. In the event of such direct liaison, EUROPOL shall at the same time inform the national units of the Member States represented in the team as well as those of the Member States which provided the information thereof[xiv].

Information obtained by a EUROPOL staff member while part of a joint investigation team may, with the consent and under the responsibility of the Member State which provided the information, be included in any of the components of the information processing systems of EUROPOL[xv].

The above means that of a joint investigation team has access to valid information originating from analysis work files. Simultaneously, EUROPOL may receive directly and process any valid information from a joint investigation team.

Due to common activities performed by a joint investigation team it is possible to gain financial assistance from European Commission. The financial resources may be used to finance operation and cooperation meetings.

Joint investigation teams’ activities are related to further operational and operational facilitation. It allows to implement all activities within the investigation of transnational character without the need of sending formal requests of legal assistance.

Thanks to  cooperation of joint investigation teams of police officers and prosecutors from different EU countries, it is possible to eliminate operational challenges concerning language, cultural and administrative barriers (knowledge of law and contacts)[xvi].

This very article illustrates the role of specialised EU agencies combating criminal activity involving forced labour other than in the sexual services. The activities of EUROPOL and EUROJUST have been characterised to show the support legal authorities of State Members fighting against trafficking in human beings.

The subject matter is extremely complicated due to the range of actions taken as well as the location of specialised agencies in the institutional system of EU. Major elements of EUROPOL and EUROJUST’s support have been shown on the example of operation „Terra  Promesa” dealing with forced labour camps in the region of Apulia in Italy where Polish citizens were exploited.

Key words:

UE Agency    Europol   Eurojust    forced labour    mirror investigation    joint investigation teams.

[i] Dr Tomasz Safjański, Ph.DWSPiA Rzeszowska Szkola Wyzsza (Scuola Universitaria di Legge e di Amministrazione, Resovia – Polonia)

[ii] Dr Mariusz Michalski, Ph.DWyzsza Szkola Ekonomii, Prawa i Nauk Medycznych im. prof. Edwarda Lipinskiego w Kielcach (Scuola Universitara di Economia, di Legge e di Scienze Mediche „Edward Linski” di Kielce – Polonia)

[iii] Dz. U. z 2005 r., nr 18, poz. 160.

[iv] Dz. U. z 2009 r. nr 20, poz. 108.

[v] Dz. U. WE L 203 of 1 August 2002, p. 1.

[vi] EUROJUST is an EU body established by Council Decision 2002/187/JHA to improve judicial cooperation in the fight against serious crime (amended by Council Decision 2003/659/JHA and Council Decision 2009/426/JHA. Since 2003, its seat has been in The Hague.

[vii] COUNCIL DECISION of 6 April 2009 establishing the European Police Office (Europol) (2009/371/JHA). The establishment of a European Police Office (Europol) was agreed in the Treaty on European Union of 7 February 1992, and regulated in the Convention based on Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union, on the establishment of a European Police Office (Europol Convention). Its main objective was to combat trafficking in human beings. There is no formal need of organised crime existence. In practice, the EUROPOL potential can be used especially in the situation of human trafficking with the involvement of two or more Member States of EU. The cooperation enhances the chances of effective crime combat.

[viii] The exchange of information is based on collecting, storing, processing, analysing and exchanging information and intelligence by the legal or other competent authorities of the Member States.

[ix] Operational analysis is a method based on logical and ordered research, processing and comparison of information gathered which is realised through searching, identifying and detecting the links between data relevant to the offence or any other data obtained from various sources in order to support the process of detection of evidence. The strategic analysis is a crime analysis supporting longterm decisions and aims. It serves setting the priorities and strategies to combat crime on the basis of detailed research and its development forecast.

[x] Liaison officers shall constitute the national liaison bureaux at Europol and shall be instructed by their national units to represent the interests of the latter within Europol in accordance with the national law of the seconding Member State and the provisions applicable to the administration of Europol. Liaison officers shall provide Europol with information from the seconding national unit; forward information from Europol to the seconding national unit; cooperate with Europol staff by providing information and giving advice; and assist in the exchange of information from their national units with the liaison officers of other Member States under their responsibility in accordance with national law. Such bilateral exchanges may also cover crimes out with the

competence of Europol, as far as allowed by national law.

[xi] GRETA Group of experts on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, Strasbourg 2013,  p. 28.

[xii] Article 6 section 2 and 3 COUNCIL DECISION of 6 April 2009 establishing the European Police Office (Europol) (2009/371/JHA)

[xiii] Article 6 section 1, ibidem.

[xiv] Article 6 section 4, ibidem.

[xv] Article 6 section, 5, ibidem.

[xvi] Europejski oficer śledczy. Walka z przestępczością międzynarodową, Haga. p. 18.


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