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05 April 2013

Morocco hosts first INTERPOL trafficking in illicit goods seminar for Middle East and North Africa region

MARRAKESH, Morocco – Senior police and law enforcement officials gathered this week for the first Regional Capacity Building and Training Seminar on trafficking in illicit goods in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Co-hosted by INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods Sub-Directorate and Morocco’s General Directorate for National Safety, the three-day seminar (2-4 April) brought together some 75 police, customs and prosecutors from 15 countries across the region: Algeria, Comoros, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen.

Participants discussed the challenges posed by illicit trade and the criminal networks behind illicit trade, as well as how to develop solutions to further strengthen regional and international cooperation for a more effective global response. The training also focused on the role of the judiciary as part of enforcement solutions against illicit trade.

Underlining how participants brought different perspectives and new aspects on the counterfeiting and trafficking of illicit products, Morocco’s Director of Judicial Police, Abdelmajid Chadili, said: “Morocco’s Judicial Police welcomes and supports INTERPOL’s initiatives in combating the trafficking of illicit goods and this event is one example of how we can gather efforts in the Middle East and North Africa region to gain positive results.”

“Morocco’s Judicial Police will continue working with INTERPOL and the international police community to address criminal activity in the manufacturing and trafficking of illicit goods in Morocco and beyond,” concluded Mr Chadili.

Issues raised during the seminar include enforcement strategies, partnerships with the private sector, global brand protection, the rise of illegal online trade, ways to improve cooperation, effective legal mechanisms, successful initiatives and operations, and the wider impacts of illicit trade.

The seminar, delivered with the support of the Moroccan Judicial Police and the participation of intellectual property crime and illicit trade and policy experts from Europe, Dubai, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United States, was held within the framework of INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods initiative which aims to identify and dismantle the organized crime networks behind the manufacture and distribution of illegitimate products.

“The Middle East and North Africa region is a very important one for INTERPOL’s global efforts against the trafficking of illicit goods and we are therefore very pleased to have held in Morocco this first INTERPOL seminar in the region. We need to be here to support authorities in their fight against illicit trade,” said Roberto Manriquez, Acting Assistant Director of INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods Sub-Directorate.

A key factor in the fight against illicit trade is close cooperation between law enforcement and the private sector. Representatives from industries particularly affected by illicit trade, such as the technology, footwear and garment, movie and film recording, tobacco and skin care industries, are attending the seminar to share their experiences.

Roberto Manriquez, Acting Assistant Director