The conference in Riga, scheduled for 7–8 October, will focus on the concrete problems that the Nordic and Baltic countries are currently facing in their work against human trafficking and other forms of gender-related violence. According to detective inspector Berglind Eyjólfsdóttir, chair of the Nordic-Baltic Network of Policewomen, there is a great need for cooperation.
‘It’s not just about sharing experiences and improving methods, it’s also about networking. I think it’s important that those of us who work with these issues get to know one another – it will make it easier to contact each other in our daily work.’
She says that the perpetrators are often one step ahead of the police and can quickly change their methods. This means that the police must always keep updated.
‘Discussing these issues helps us understand the situation in the other countries. It’s an eye-opener,’ says Eyjólfsdóttir.
The conference in Riga is part of the project Gendered Violence – Nordic-Baltic Dialogue. Earlier this year the network met in Copenhagen for a first seminar. So, more concretely, how can the cooperation improve the work of the police? Eyjólfsdóttir mentions a human trafficking case in Iceland. A woman was identified on a flight to Reykjavik. At first the police thought she was involved in a drug-related crime, but eventually it turned out she was a trafficking victim from Lithuania.
‘Two colleagues had recently been to a study visit organized by NBNP in Lithuania. That made it much easier to contact colleagues there and work on the case together.’
What’s the biggest challenge in the work against human trafficking?
‘One challenge is how to identify the victims; another is to find ways to work with them. The latter can be difficult, since the victims are often afraid of authorities and the police,’ says Eyjólfsdóttir.
This is an article about one of the projects granted funding through the Nordic Gender Equality Fund.