Local governments and cooperation

Trafficking in human beings (THB) for labour exploitation is a complex issue. A multidisciplinary, integrated approach is needed for an effective fight against THB for labour exploitation.

Compared to other authorities, municipalities are in close contact with civilians. They have eyes and ears in many parts of the local society. Municipalities could for example come across signs of THB for labour exploitation during the following activities (if they are part of their responsibilities):

  • housing inspections in relation to building permits or overcrowding
  • supervision and inspection activities in relation to public order
  • activities carried out by the Public Health Service and
  • registration of inhabitants in the Municipal Personal Records Database.

See also the list of activities during which organisations can detect signs of THB for labour exploitation.

To participate in multidisciplinary cooperation against THB for labour exploitation, local or regional governments could:

Appoint an official as THB focal point

Municipalities or regional governments could appoint an official to be responsible for the issue of THB. They would act as a kind of local or regional focal point. This official could for example:

  • formulate the municipal policy against THB for labour exploitation; for example, on providing shelter to victims, or on screening applicants for business permits or government contracts for the presence of criminal connections
  • set up youth care for underage victims of trafficking
  • set up awareness and training projects for municipal officials that might come into contact with trafficking to improve early detection of possible victims; these officials could include, where relevant: librarians and day care employees
  • set up prevention and awareness activities aimed at the workplace or schools, for example by using social media
  • create an internal procedure for officials to report signs of THB for labour exploitation
  • coordinate local cooperation against trafficking
  • set up a local referral mechanism for victims of trafficking, as part of the national mechanism
  • devise ways for the municipality to share information on THB with other organisations.

Participate in multidisciplinary meetings on THB for labour exploitation

To coordinate their work with partner organisations, an official appointed as THB focal point could for example represent the municipality in local, regional and/or national meetings where the fight against THB for labour exploitation is discussed.

Ensure political support for the role of the municipality

It is important that the political leaders of the local government, such as the mayor, an alderman or the chairperson of the relevant council committee, support the role the municipality fulfils against THB for labour exploitation. The role of a mayor, for example, could be very helpful in getting public and political attention for the administrative approach in the fight against THB.

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More general information on multidisciplinary cooperation.