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Funding Organization
European Commission
Funding Programme
Horizon Europe
Funding Instument
Research & Innovation Action
Starting Date
Nov. 1, 2023
Total budget
ITI budget
Scientific responsible
Dr. Petros Daras


VANGUARD aims to strengthen the fight against trafficking in human beings (THB) at the nexus of advanced technological solutions, understanding, awareness raising, and training in order to disrupt the trafficking chain at an early stage and address the culture of impunity. In particular, VANGUARD aims to provide an improved intelligence picture of THB, with particular focus on THB for purposes of sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, and forced criminality. This will be achieved through developing a modular and trustworthy suite of tools for detecting, identifying, investigating, and preventing online-facilitated THB activities and THB-related activities at (border) checkpoints based on the analysis of online multimedia content and multimodal streams, by leveraging the latest advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI). It will also address the societal dimensions of THB through improved understanding and engagement with relevant actors, improved strategies of international cooperation, increased awareness, and better evidencebased policymaking. The capacity of end users (including Police and Border Guard Authorities) will be further enhanced and will enable them to tackle such criminal activities in an effective manner based on advanced tools and solutions and on innovative training curricula. VANGUARD will be validated in field tests and demonstrations in three  operational use cases. Extensive training, hands-on experience, joint exercises, and training material will boost the uptake of VANGUARD tools and technologies. With a Consortium of seven Police and Border Guard Authorities (including from countries of origin and transit of THB networks and countries neighbouring Ukraine), one Police Academy, eight research/academic institutions, four industry partners (including two SMEs), two CSOs, and one International Organisation, VANGUARD delivers a strong representation of the challenges, requirements, and tools to meet its objectives.

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