Law enforcement officials and victim service providers are often the first point of contact for victims of human trafficking who do not speak the language of the country they are in. In order to aid those helping the victims, UN.GIFT/UNODC, the Austrian Criminal Intelligence Service and the Austrian NGO LEFOE-IBF worked together to create VITA (Victim Translation Assistance).
VITA is a unique new tool using audio messages, that allows law enforcement officials to provide a level of basic assistance to victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking survivors contributed to the development of these messages, which were also supported by experts in human trafficking focused on victims' needs.
This audio tool, consisting of key encounter messages, was developed to facilitate the identification of a trafficked person and the launch of a criminal investigation. Thirty-five basic questions and messages have been recorded and translated into 40 languages, taking into account special questions for children.
Interpol is supporting this initiative and will assist in the dissemination of the VITA tool in their member countries to support victim care in the initial stages of an investigation.
In September 2009, Interpol presented the first prototype of the VITA tool during an Interpol meeting in Ghana as well as at the Europol Annual Trafficking in Human in Human Beings Expert Group Meeting, held in The Hague. Since 2009, police forces around the world have been testing the tool before its final release scheduled for 2010.