IRS-CI, HSI train German, Swiss officials on human trafficking investigative techniques


Training takes place in conjunction with UN World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Date: July 28, 2022


As the United Nations commemorates World Day Against Trafficking in Persons July 30, a team of U.S. federal investigators from IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are in Frankfurt, Germany, this week to train their German law enforcement counterparts on the latest investigative techniques to combat human trafficking.

On Thursday, July 28, U.S. Mission Germany will host approximately 20 prosecutors and law enforcement officials from the State Criminal Police Offices of Berlin, Saxony and Hesse; the German Federal Police; the German Federal Criminal Police and the Financial Intelligence Unit for a one-day training. Swiss non-governmental organization Trafficked Victim Unit also participated in the training. Participants will learn how to recognize indicators and trace financial transactions linked to this heinous crime.

"Almost all criminal activity involves a financial component," said Kareem Carter, acting executive director for IRS-CI Global Operations and Policy Support. "That's why it's important to understand how to analyze suspicious transactions and identify money laundering indicators when investigating trafficking crimes."

"Combating human trafficking is a top priority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and HSI plays an integral role in working with law enforcement partners around the globe to deter, disrupt, and dismantle criminal network engaged in this heinous crime," said David Magdycz, acting assistant director of HSI International Operations. "International cooperation is critical, now more than ever – HSI works with partners globally to share best practices and overcome barriers in the transnational fight against human traffickers and the networks that facilitate and profit from modern-day slavery. We will continue to leverage our broad authorities, amplified by international and domestic partnerships such as those with IRS-CI, to identify and protect victims of trafficking, while bringing perpetrators to justice."

After spending three years at Tier 2, the U.S. Department of State's 2022 Trafficking in Persons report has upgraded Germany to a Tier 1 country, noting it now complies with The Trafficking Victims Protection Act's minimum standards. In the past year, in Germany, more traffickers were prosecuted and convicted than in previous years, and law enforcement enhanced efforts to combat labor trafficking when compared to the prior year. Additionally, Germany's Youth Protection Act became effective in May 2021, which increased preventative protections for children against cyber grooming and potential sex trafficking.

Even with important strides forward, traffickers continue to exploit domestic and foreign victims in Germany, and global crises place already vulnerable persons at increased risk. The pandemic complicated detection of human trafficking activities by increasing isolation of migrant and seasonal workers, as well as sex trafficking victims. Traffickers prey on migrants and refugees upon arrival. In 2022, Ukrainian refugees, predominantly women and children, fleeing Russia's war on Ukraine have become vulnerable to trafficking.

To counter these and other trends the Trafficking in Persons report makes annual recommendations to further each government's anti-trafficking efforts. The 2022 Trafficking in Persons report encourages Germany to increase its efforts to pursue financial crime investigations in tandem with human trafficking cases.

IRS-CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. IRS-CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, boasting a nearly 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.