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Vietnamese Capacity Building Programme on Human Trafficking Investigation 2018-2021

The Vietnamese Capacity Building Programme on Human Trafficking Investigation skills funded by Home Office Modern Slavery Fund (MSF) has finally come to an end in 2021. The last 4 classes for management officers and operational investigators took place in the cities of Can Tho between 1st-5th March and in Buon Me Thuot between 8th-12th March. Once again JIPH trainers Mark O’Donoghue and Paul Northcott participated online, remotely delivering from the UK. Despite the 7 hour time difference and some Wifi challenges at times, the courses delivery and outcomes have been a great success. After nearly two years of implementation and the challenges posed by Covid-19, the programme has trained 576 officers and senior officers from 49 (out of total 63) provinces and cities. Among them, were 250 police officers/investigators, 109 border guards, 122 prosecutors and 95 judges.  This is the most wide-spread and comprehensive training programme that the UK has ever provided in this field. According to Home Office, MSF are not aware of any similar programme funded by other countries or international organisations which also trained in such large scale and coverage of provinces. This truly was a fantastic collaborative team effort by the British Embassy Hanoi, The Peoples Police Academy (PPA) and the Joint International Policing hub.

Another really GREAT piece of news is that the PPA have advised the 4-volume manuals developed  in collaboration between UK and PPA lecturers in 2018-2019 have passed the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) official assessments after a second ratification in late 2020. This means our manuals meet all Quality Control standards set by the Ministry's Board of Education and Board of Science. The manuals and associated teaching materials have been signed off by the MPS Vice-Minister and will now be officially used as manuals in teaching, learning and as reference materials for research throughout the PPA.  

Different to other books funded by other Governments, which are usually a review or combination of existing materials and more about complementary skills (such as communication, interviewing, victim receipt, etc.), our manuals are a new product which are specifically about policing and practical applications addressing  the issues of the PPA's current curriculum in this field that is out of date. The PPA also confirmed this is the first time a manual with such focus has been developed directly in conjunction with international experts through a bilateral cooperation scheme utilising the MoU between the UK and Vietnam as a framework. 

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Apart from this great news, we’ve achieved such fantastic results through the training project, such as the development of a sound and practical knowledge base for investigators as well as creating a stronger victim focused mind set. Frances Godfrey, Head of the HO Modern Slavery Fund said, ‘It is really excellent to hear that this work is judged to be of such high quality, and that it will have a lasting impact and hopefully bring some structural change. All credit…for the extremely hard work on this’.

This programme was once described by a Vietnamese colleague as the JIPH baby. Well this baby is now strong and resilient. It will provide a lasting legacy to Vietnamese police training in tackling human trafficking. It is evidence of what strong international collaboration can achieve.

"The JIPH has over the last couple of years been working closely with the Vietnamese to help tackle Modern Slavery Human Trafficking (MSHT). Vietnam is a priority country for the UK in this regard. Addressing the issue upstream at source is critical to success. I had the pleasure of helping design and drive this programme forward since 2017; and liaising with a wide variety of stakeholders in Vietnam and the region (in partnership with the Home Office (HO) Modern Slavery Unit and British Embassy (BE) Hanoi) initiating a two-year rolling programme of delivery of collaborative training for Vietnamese investigators and senior leaders. It truly was a collaborative effort. The positive teamwork between the UK and Vietnam was palpable throughout. Excellent ongoing friendships have been developed and there is a high degree of companionship and trust. The current programme for the 2018-21 has sadly come to an end. Although there were many challenges along the way, Covid being one, which required creative thinking to keep the programme alive. I am immensely proud to have been involved knowing that what was presented as an idea in 2017 now has lasting legacy value" Mark O'Donoghue, Joint International Policing Hub

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