HESTIA Project

European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI) in cooperation with partners from Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania and the Slovak Republic, had in 2015-2016 a transnational project entitled “Preventing human trafficking and sham marriages: a multidisciplinary solution” (HESTIA). The project was the first systematic research in EU on the links between human trafficking and sham marriages. Within the project a variety of activities were provided: discussions of legislators, policy planners and practitioners at national and regional level in each country conducted a comprehensive research of the problem of sham marriages; learning methodology and trainings were implemented for social workers, social educators, workers of educational institutions, media representatives, state and municipal police officers and representatives of non-governmental organizations; awareness raising campaigns were implemented.

The final report consists of five individual country reports in addition to an introductory chapter that summarises the main findings. The full report is downloadable as pdf from HEUNI's website:

The project was coordinated by the Latvian Ministry of Interior and conducted under the European Union programme “Prevention of and Fight against Crime”. The project team developed the concept “exploitative sham marriage” in order to describe the phenomenon studied.

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Last review: January 2020.