Home News Interpol and Europol chiefs issue joint ‘Call For Action’ targeting people smuggling networks

Interpol and Europol chiefs issue joint ‘Call For Action’ targeting people smuggling networks

by Brian Sims
Left: Interpol's Secretary General Jürgen Stock and, right, Europol's director Rob Wainwright

Left: Interpol’s Secretary General Jürgen Stock and, right, Europol’s director Rob Wainwright

The heads of Interpol and Europol have called for urgent and co-ordinated action by law enforcement agencies to identify and disrupt the organised crime networks behind what they jointly describe as “unprecedented” levels of people smuggling.

The need for co-ordinated action at the national, regional and international levels designed to address this rapidly escalating security issue was a key discussion point during a meeting between Interpol’s Secretary General Jürgen Stock and Europol director Rob Wainwright held at Interpol’s General Secretariat headquarters.

The joint resources of Interpol – the world’s largest policing organisation able to access an operational network in the source and transit countries in West and North Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East – and Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, were underlined as being ideally situated to assist national law enforcement in combating the criminal networks behind irregular migration.

To this end, the two leaders have called on their respective services to urgently organise a summit of senior police officers from source, transit and destination countries.

“As we mark the anniversary of 9/11, an event which completely changed the security landscape, it’s more important than ever that Governments support law enforcement in implementing a need to share rather than a need to know philosophy,” said Secretary General Stock. “Criminals who prey on the desperation of those fleeing conflict or poverty are making millions in profits, which can then be used to fuel corruption and fund other forms of serious transnational crime. We need each of our 190 member countries to play their part in providing the information which could be crucial in bringing these ‘merchants of misery’ to justice.”

Stock concluded: “Interpol’s co-operation with Europol provides a streamlined method of information sharing between the global and European levels to ensure there’s no gap for criminals to exploit.”

Migration at unprecedented levels

Europol’s Rob Wainwright responded: “Europe has been facing numbers of migrants at unprecedented levels. We are all deeply moved by what is happening. Our immediate and most urgent task is to curb the organised crime groups which smuggle and distribute migrants across Europe.”

Europol's headquarters in The Hague

Europol’s headquarters in The Hague

Wainwright said that law enforcement services in the Member States of the European Union, Europol and Interpol are confronted with increasingly sophisticated and unscrupulous syndicates which are becoming harder to combat, more agile, more international and more innovative in their use of new tools such as social media.

“It’s of great importance that, in this challenging time, Member States intensify their efforts in exchanging the crucial criminal data among themselves and with Europol and Interpol. This will enable us to be even more effective in identifying intelligence leads, closing the information gaps and disrupting the organised crime groups involved.”

In conclusion, Interpol’s leader said: “Now more than ever, we understand that security in the European Union is indivisible. Europol stands ready to step up its activities aimed at curbing the organised crime groups dealing with the facilitation of illegal immigration and, to this end, will exploit all opportunities to join forces with Interpol.”

Linking of crime types

In addition to its secure global police communications network which enables the real-time exchange of vital policing information across 190 countries, Interpol’s range of databases (including for foreign terrorist fighters, wanted persons, fingerprints, stolen and lost travel documents, stolen vessels and maritime piracy) are also vital tools in identifying potential links between the organised crime networks behind people smuggling and other forms of criminality.

Europol has developed tailored operational and analytical tools to combat organised crime involved in facilitating illegal immigration which can be used in ongoing law enforcement operations.

Europol’s sophisticated intelligence databases store the data from 500 agencies across Europe which then allows for a quick identification of connections between organised crime groups and the subsequent exchange of crucial operational data between those law enforcement services involved with specific cases.

With social media and the Internet facilitating organised crime and terrorism, the Interpol and Europol leaders also discussed the ongoing co-operation in tackling cyber crime through the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore and Europol’s European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3) based in The Hague.

Wynyard Group’s software assists Hope for Justice in fight against human trafficking

Crime-fighting software solutions developer Wynyard Group reports that Hope for Justice (UK) is now using its Investigative Case Management solution to help the organisation in its fight against human trafficking.

Hope for Justice is a not-for-profit organisation that fights human trafficking, working to uncover and abolish the hidden crimes of modern day slavery. With more men, women and children involved  in modern day slavery than at any other time in human history, human trafficking earns criminal networks the second largest source of illegal income (surpassed only by drugs trafficking).

Wynyard Group’s technology is used by the Hope for Justice team to help investigate trafficking cases. It also supports the organisation when it comes to identifying victims and removing them from exploitation.

To rescue victims, information and evidence is gathered, analysed and prioritised using Wynyard Group’s Investigative Case Management technology which also helps in managing the evidence required in order to bring the perpetrators of human trafficking to justice.

Hope for Justice’s operations manager Graham Simmons told Risk UK that Wynyard Group’s technology will play a major role in helping the organisation investigate and gather more accurate, detailed information and evidence to help local law enforcement authorities complete successful rescues and prosecutions. It will be “a great asset” to Hope for Justice’s investigation arm.

“Hope for Justice works in partnership with law enforcement, other agencies and organisations to effectively combat modern day slavery because this is such a complex crime,” asserted Simmons. “We believe that, by providing our Regional Investigative Hubs with Wynyard Group’s technology, we will improve our capacity to recognise patterns, identify victims and convict more traffickers.”

Wynyard Group’s chief operating officer Paul Stokes believes the business’ solutions help prevent crimes such as human trafficking and track the illicit financial flows emanating from such activities.

“By enhancing the ability of Hope for Justice to investigate incidents in an increasingly challenging global criminal environment, the organisation can be even more effective in tackling these offenders and rescuing victims from trafficking,” concluded Stokes.

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