Statement on Commitments on Information Exchange Mechanism concerning Trafficking in Human Beings in South Eastern Europe (Zagreb, 2001)

STABILITY PACT FOR SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE

TASK FORCE ON TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS

STATEMENT ON COMMITMENTS

Instrument to the Stability Pact Palermo Declaration

Information Exchange Mechanism Concerning Trafficking in Human Beings in South Eastern Europe

The under-signed Government Ministers and State Representatives (hereinafter referred to as Signatories)

- taking into consideration the ANTI-TRAFFICKING DECLARATION OF SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE signed in Palermo on 13 December 2000; and the AGREEMENT ON COMBATING TRANS-BORDER CRIME ("SECI Agreement") signed in Bucharest on 26 May 1999;

- being aware of the commitments arising from them;

- acknowledging their responsibility to address the problem of trafficking in human beings within the region;

- recognising their mutual interest in enhancing regional co-operation focussed on combating trafficking in human beings and related crimes;

have agreed as follows:

- to assist each other, in accordance with the STATEMENT ON COMMITMENTS, in the areas of combating trafficking in human beings and related crimes, namely prevention, protection and prosecution;

- to co-ordinate the implementation of their National Anti-Trafficking Action Plans focussing on those areas where the measures to be taken are of a transnational or regional character;

- to confirm the readiness of co-operation and exchange of experience in the harmonisation of their national legislation concerning the protection of and assistance to victims of human trafficking and the prosecution of criminals;

- to elaborate an effective Information Exchange Mechanism that shall include the following commitments:

- to exchange both strategic and operational information on all aspects of trafficking in human beings and related crimes;

- to share expertise and best practices in tackling the problem of trafficking in human beings and related crimes;

- to exchange general situation reports, information on investigative procedures, and on law enforcement methods and crimes prevention;

- to provide mutual advice in individual investigations;

- to participate in regional training activities facilitated by the Stability Pact Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings targeted at law enforcement personnel, border police, prosecutors, government officials, etc.;

- to designate a liaison officer who will act as the national contact point for law-enforcement issues;

- to meet as necessary at the senior official level to discuss issues related to the STATEMENT ON COMMITMENTS, co-operation in general, as well as further joint action in combating trafficking in human beings and related crimes.

The Information Exchange Mechanism between the Signatories shall only take place for the purpose of and in accordance with the provisions of the STATEMENT ON COMMITMENTS.

Within the Information Exchange Mechanism only information collected, stored and transmitted in accordance with national legislation shall be supplied.

For the exchange of information the designated liaison officers shall preferably use the channels of the SECI Regional Center in Bucharest. In doing so they shall use INTERPOL standard procedures and gradually adopt the EUROPOL mechanism regulating the exchange of information between EU Member States.

Information on victims of trafficking, including efficiency and continuity of the assistance mechanisms throughout the region, shall be available to authorized bodies, upon request, through the Belgrade Regional Clearing Point established under the Stability Pact Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings.

Data exchange shall be carried out respecting International Law on Data Protection, where applicable.

The STATEMENT ON COMMITMENTS shall not prejudice or affect the application of other bi-lateral or multi-lateral agreements currently in force or subsequently concluded by the Signatories.

Zagreb, 27 November 2001