The Institute on the Investigation and Prosecution of Human Trafficking

March 14 - 18, 2011

AEquitas, Vital Voices, and the U.S. State Department partnered to present the Institute on the Investigation and Prosecution of Human Trafficking (hereafter “IIPHT”). The Institute was a three-and-a-half-day training course that was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

The IIPHT was a multidisciplinary training addressing trafficking in persons (both for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor) in Cameroon. The IIPHT was designed to challenge participants to reevaluate their approach to prosecuting human trafficking crimes. The IIPHT explored the complex issues faced by allied professionals in identifying, investigating, and prosecuting human trafficking while balancing offender accountability with the impact of criminal prosecution on victims. In addition to practical case evaluation and litigation skills, the curriculum addressed the development and improvement of culturally-competent and linguistically-appropriate victim services; examined the benefits of developing a coordinated victim-centered community response; explained relevant medical and mental health consequences of human trafficking and offered guidance on the use of experts in these fields; explored common ethical issues; and offered participants the ability to redefine outcomes and the very nature of justice in human trafficking cases. The IIPHT not only trained participants on HOW to investigate and prosecute cases of slavery and human trafficking, it taught and convinced participants WHY it is important to do so.

Topics covered included Cameroon’s existing trafficking law; the dynamics of human trafficking; victim interviews; victim behavior; case investigations; medical evidence, injury, and medical experts; prosecuting and sentencing offenders; aftercare, reintegration, and rehabilitation for victims; and strategies for increasing the effectiveness of the criminal justice response system to trafficking.

42 prosecutors and other allied professionals from Cameroon were in attendance. Translated comments from evaluations included:

  • I am so enriched, more knowledgeable on the subject of Human Trafficking, how to identify the practice, types as well as techniques to combat this and more importantly better techniques to reintegrate victims and autonomize them. More than grateful to this program and desire more programs of this nature to be well grounded to act and apply knowledge acquired.
  • The program was generally timely and I feel privileged and really elated to have attended. It is something that is of special interest to me and I take it as a special call and vocation. I am ready to team up with a task force for the fights against this ill in Cameroon.
  • The seminar was of utmost importance to me. The presentations taught me so much as trafficking is very poorly understand in Cameroon. I am now more equipped to work in this domain and hope that these meetings will be scheduled regularly.

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