On 8 December 2022, FRC will host the year 1 review meeting of the HEROES project. During the review meeting, the project officer from the European Commission as well as two external reviewers will evaluate the work done by all partners in the HEROES consortium, including FRC, during the first year of the project.
Abstract of the HEROES project: Trafficking of human beings (THB) and child sexual abuse and exploitation (CSA/CSE) are two big problems in our society. Inadvertently, new information and communication technologies (ICTs) have provided a space for these problems to develop and take new forms, made worse by the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, technical and legal tools available to stakeholders that prevent, investigate, and assist victims – such as law enforcement agencies (LEAs), prosecutors, judges, and civil society organisations (CSOs) – fail to keep up with the pace at which criminals use new technologies to continue their abhorrent acts. Furthermore, assistance to victims of THB and CSA/CSE is often limited by the lack of coordination among these stakeholders. In this sense, there is a clear and vital need for joint work methodologies and the development of new strategies for approaching and assisting victims. In addition, due to the cross-border nature of these crimes, harmonisation of legal frameworks from each of the affected countries is necessary for creating bridges of communication and coordination among all those stakeholders to help victims and reduce the occurrence of these horrendous crimes. To address these challenges, the HEROES project comes up with an ambitious, interdisciplinary, international, and victim-centred approach. The HEROES project is structured as a comprehensive solution that encompasses three main components: Prevention, Investigation and Victim Assistance. Through these components, our solution aims to establish a coordinated contribution with LEAs by developing an appropriate, victim-centred approach that is capable of addressing specific needs and providing protection. The HEROES project’s main objective is to use technology to improve the way in which help and support can be provided to victims of THB and CSA/CSE.