Budapest Process organises the 4th Meeting of Community of Law Enforcement Practitioners (COLEP)

October 12th, 2023 – The fourth meeting of Community of Law Enforcement Practitioners (COLEP) gathered 24 law enforcement officials and experts from 9 member countries of COLEP in Sofia, Bulgaria on 5-6 October 2023. The meeting was held in-person back-to-back with the Budapest Process Thematic Meeting on Integrated Border Management. Senior representatives of Bulgaria and Iraq co-chaired both meetings in their capacities as co-chairs of the Budapest Process Thematic Working Group on Law Enforcement Cooperation (TWG-LE) and COLEP.

In previous COLEP meetings, participants have expressed the need to improve capacities on:

  • (Trans-)national investigations: conducting timely and action-oriented trans-national information sharing and collaboration to effectively investigate trans-national cases (i.e., engaging each other more via set up of a network of focal points and where needed Joint Investigation Teams);
  • Identifying victims of trafficking by better implementing trafficking victim identification procedures and standard operating procedures.

Therefore, during the 4th COLEP meeting, a workshop on real-life case studies was conducted to illustrate good practices, shortcomings, lessons learned in international cooperation against smuggling of migrants (SoM) and trafficking in human beings (THB). Participants were also involved in a table-top exercise based on a hypothetical situation regarding transnational criminal investigation and prosecution. Several ideas emerged for the next meeting of COLEP, including conducting a workshop on how to improve prosecution of criminal groups and networks involved in SoM and THB.

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