Officials in Laos Undergo Training to Detect and Prosecute Human Trafficking Cases

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International Organization for Migration in Laos (IOM) and the Supreme
People’s Prosecutor (OSPP) held a Workshop focusing on the Development of Adapted
Manual for Interview and Statement-Taking Skills with Human Trafficking Victims.

The workshop to launch the manuals was organized in Oudomxay Province within the project “Combating Human Trafficking through Reinforcing Judicial Capacity and Enhancing Border Security in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (CHARJ+)” funded by the United
States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

The event was held for officials of the Office of Supreme People’s Prosecutor with
attendance of 32 participants, including 23 males, and 9 females.

The workshop aimed at enhancing the understanding of the nature of human trafficking phenomena, including how it is interpreted and incorporated into the anti-trafficking law. In addition, the manual on interview skills enhancement was introduced during the event.

The manual was developed to provide prosecutors and law enforcement officers working in the justice sector with the capacity to detect and prosecute trafficking cases, as well as identify and protect the victims of trafficking in persons.

Representatives from OSPP, People Supreme Court, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Lao Women’s Union, and chaired by Mr. Khamphet Somvorlachit, Vice President of the Office of Supreme People’s Prosecutor.

The 5-days workshop included 6 topics of general information on countertrafficking and participants’ sensitization on the topic, interview skill development and statement taking guidance.

The preparation to the interview, interview process, evaluation of the result of interview and statement taking, application of the interview results and statements taking as evidence were also introduced to the participants.

A core technique for investigation and collection of evidence on trafficking-related crimes is victim/witness interview, persuading VoTs to cooperate and provide a comprehensive and accurate account to enable further prosecution.

It requires that frontline law enforcement practitioners possess and apply strong interview skills and appropriate techniques. The internationally-recognized best practices in this sphere include the PEACE model (Planning and Preparation, Engage and Explain, Account, Closure, and Evaluation) and Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) guidelines.

This manual was developed as a practical tool for master trainers of the Office of Supreme People’s Prosecutor to guide Lao prosecutors and frontline police officers in exploring these best-practice approaches and developing the relevant set of essential skills.

It is an integral part of IOM’s broader curriculum development and institutionalization effort in support of Lao law enforcement agencies’ progress towards international standards in combating trafficking in persons.

The interview manual is based on the IOM existing manual on interview skills and adapted to the Lao national context. A total of 100 manuals on interview skills were published within the project and distributed during the workshop.

The above-mentioned activity is implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) within the project “Combating Human Trafficking through Reinforcing Judicial Capacity (CHARJ+)”

The project is funded by the United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement and aimed to strengthen the criminal justice response, institutional capacities, and technical skills to investigate and prosecute trafficking in persons in Laos.