Rob Abrams, Deputy Attaché, Homeland Security Investigations

The deputy attaché for the Department of Homeland Security's HSI office in Bangkok, Thailand, says providing better support for victims makes good sense from an investigative standpoint because better witnesses make for better trials.

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One of the things I like to emphasize anytime I talk to my Thai colleagues is that we’re not here to give any sort of didactic learning experience. In fact what we’d like to do is have you learn from our mistakes.

And the victim-centric approach to dealing with victims and child witnesses and material witnesses is still fairly new to U.S. law enforcement. Were about 15-17 years into doing so truly, really in practice now.  And really what it represents is the best international practice in dealing with child victims and child witnesses.

It represent a bringing together of law enforcement and social service entities, medical professionals and victim advocates. It educates our victims to where they are in the criminal justice process. It gets them the resources they need. And perhaps most importantly it gets them the entitlements that they deserve.

So citing for example the Trafficking Victims Protection Act—the Adam Walsh Act—we have certain obligations in federal law enforcement to our victim. So a lot of what we’re doing isn’t necessarily because its morally or ethically correct, and it is, it also what’s legally mandated for us to do. And at the end of the day it makes for better victims and witnesses. Better victims and witnesses make for more successful trials.

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