“My position as head of the National Trafficking in Persons Investigation Office in Lithuania is challenging, but also very exciting. I will conduct and coordinate national and international police operations and investigations leading to the identification and rescue of victims.
We will receive information that there is a potential mining case involving Lithuanians at a given location. We then contacted law enforcement agencies in that country and organized a rescue operation.
We had to act very quickly and prepare to move from place to place. I had days when my breakfast, lunch and dinner were in different countries.
Lives are damaged
Sometimes, I work undercover so I don’t wear a police uniform. I remember having to run after a victim on my heels on a UK street. I had to be careful not to break my leg.
Lithuanian criminal groups were very active in human trafficking both inside and outside of the country at that time. They have very good connections with Albanian organized crime groups, which are active throughout Europe.
I count that in my career I have been involved in rescuing more than a thousand victims of human trafficking. Then I stopped counting. Many lives have been lost. I received the special police award for “Saved Life”.
I have retired from the police after 22 years of service after achieving the highest possible position in the field, so 2020 is the time to move on to the international level and share the knowledge. I have obtained.
Raising awareness about human trafficking in Central Asia
My duties while working in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, are different now. I don’t have the power as a national police officer, but I have the power to act on my behalf UNODC cooperate with authorities in Central Asia and provide technical assistance to enhance the region’s capacity to detect and investigate cases of human trafficking.
I know a lot about this crime – the organization and methods of the traffickers. But to succeed in a new role, this is not enough.
Once I arrived in Central Asia, I had to understand the peculiarities of the region and consider the cultural and legal background in the context of human trafficking.
I need to learn about the different procedures and resources in the area to combat this crime and what investigative tools are available.
I now train and mentor officials working in law enforcement and the judiciary, advise NGOs supporting victims of trafficking, and assist in the development of processes. and anti-trafficking laws.
Whatever is needed, I’m here to help.
Investigate all forms of human trafficking
Based on official data, the main destination countries for people trafficked from Central Asia are Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan and South Korea.
Apart from Kazakhstan, which is also the destination country for victims from Central Asia, all countries in the region are sources of trafficked persons.
Most of the investigations were on cases of sexual exploitation and there were a few cases where it was found to be human trafficking for labor exploitation.
I am trying to encourage the authorities to start investigating other forms of human trafficking, such as trafficking for forced marriage, forced begging, or participation in forced criminal activities or in armed groups.
In addition, official data shows that the majority of people convicted of human trafficking, especially in cases of sexual exploitation, are women. I want to learn more about this, because I believe that behind these women there may be real men who organize human trafficking. This is the area where cultured men take the lead.
Attract people with promises
I would say that traffickers today are more sophisticated and sophisticated.
They do not rely too much on the use of violence. They lure victims with kind words and promises or pretend to be boyfriends to trap them.
Early in my career, I experienced devastating cases in which victims were hanged or beaten, sometimes resulting in death. I see signs of abuse on their bodies. In other cases, victims are drugged and then sexually exploited.
I worked on a case involving homeless Lithuanian men. They were given alcohol, taken to Spain, and forced to work on a remote farm. At night, they are chained to radiators so as not to escape.
The methods of traffickers are not only more sophisticated, but criminals also generate higher profits.
For me, this work will always be about protecting human rights. That’s what I know best.”
SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
- Sustainable Development Goal 16 recognizes that conflict, insecurity, weak institutions and limited access to justice remain significant threats to sustainable development.
- It aims to reduce all forms of violence and deaths caused by that violence. It focuses on ending the abuse, exploitation, torture and trafficking of children.
- It promotes the rule of law at national and international levels and ensures equal access to justice for all