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22 April 2015

INTERPOL tools to help identify organized crime networks behind illegal migration

World police body pledges support after increase in migrant deaths in Mediterranean

LYON, France – INTERPOL has pledged its full support for international efforts to identify the organized crime networks involved in illegal migration, which have led to the loss of thousands of lives in the Mediterranean sea.

Ahead of the extraordinary European Council meeting in Brussels to address the crisis, Secretary General Jürgen Stock said INTERPOL, through its global network of 190 National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in all source, transit and destination countries provided unique outreach capabilities for law enforcement to combat this crime.

“Identifying and dismantling the organized people smuggling networks which prey on the desperation and hope of their innocent victims is not a problem which can be addressed by Europe alone,” said Secretary General Stock.

“As the only international information-sharing and analysis hub for police worldwide, INTERPOL has a crucial role to play in combating illegal migration, particularly at the source,” added Mr Stock.

In addition to its role within the Joint Operational Team Mare taskforce hosted at Europol, INTERPOL is bringing its global reach to the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) activities to enhance cooperation with source and transit countries along the Eastern Mediterranean, Western Balkan, African routes and beyond.

INTERPOL will also collect and analyse data and intelligence to build an analysis file to identify potential links to other crimes such as terrorism, trafficking in human beings and smuggling of illicit goods.

Other key areas where INTERPOL’s unique capabilities can provide added value include:

  • ­Provision of biometric tools to help identify individuals travelling without documentation, to identify missing people and members of the criminal organizations running the routes;
  • ­Global databases enabling comparison of fingerprints, photographs and travel documents to identify internationally wanted persons using false identities;
  • ­Building capacity and providing training in source, transit and destination countries under its border management and illegal migration activities;
  • ­The colour-coded notices system to enable information sharing on wanted persons, warnings about individuals suspected of involvement in illegal migration, and alerts for missing persons, or to identify dead bodies.

Member countries can also check information on vessels being used to transport illegal migrants against INTERPOL’s Stolen and Suspect Vessels database.

“We have seen the successes which can be achieved internationally when countries share information via INTERPOL, a model which should be followed if we are to effectively combat illegal migration,” said Secretary General Stock.

In 2014 INTERPOL participated in three joint operations with Frontex targeting organized crime networks behind illegal migration, enabling real-time searches of its global databases, including those of stolen and lost travel documents and wanted persons at frontline border control points.