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20 September 2017

INTERPOL capacity building programme targets human trafficking and trans-border crime in West Africa and Sahel

LYON, France– Tackling human trafficking and strengthening borders in the West Africa – Sahel region was the focus of two INTERPOL training sessions in Mauritania and Senegal.

The capacity building events (21 - 29 August 2017) aimed to provide frontline officers with the skills and knowledge required to more effectively curb human trafficking across the region’s migration routes, and to develop stronger border management practices against transnational organized crime.

Both training sessions are integral parts of two INTERPOL projects funded by the German Federal Foreign Office to better equip the region’s law enforcement with the INTERPOL capabilities they need to fight transnational crime. 

Senegal: creating stronger borders

This course was a tactical part of the lead-up to joint regional border operations, with 16 trainees from Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo learning how to share their new border management skills with colleagues upon return to their home forces.

In addition to INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs) staff, participants included frontline officers from customs, police and gendarmerie posted at key land border control points and international airports in the seven West African countries.

Addressing participants at the opening ceremony, Senegal’s Assistant Director of Criminal Police, Ibrahima Diop, highlighted the region’s transnational crime challenges, emphasizing the importance of this kind of regional training initiative in enabling law enforcement to address them effectively.

The Head of INTERPOL’s Regional Bureau for West Africa, Kedji Marcellin Abbé, thanked Germany for its strong support in strengthening law enforcement action the region.

Mauritania: curbing trafficking in human beings

This specialized session on human trafficking victim identification and referral brought together 24 officers from immigration, human trafficking units, INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs) and Judiciary from the project’s six beneficiary countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Senegal.

By bringing together a wide variety of agencies and countries, trainees and experts had a unique opportunity to exchange best practices, share commons struggles and reinforce stronger interagency collaboration.

In his opening remarks, the Director General of Mauritania’s National Police, Mohamed Meguett, underlined the importance of this kind of INTERPOL support in effectively combatting regional transnational crime.  

The Police Chief highlighted the crucial need for frontline officers to possess, and constantly renew, the skills required to respond effectively to the emerging and increasing challenges of transnational crime.  

Sustainability and outreach

Managed by INTERPOL’s Capacity Building and Training directorate in cooperation with the Vulnerable Communities unit of its Organized and Emerging Crime Directorate, both projects aim to sustain law enforcement capacity, deliver specialized training, nurture interagency collaboration and organize regional operational exercises.

“This level of collaboration is fundamental to effective operational training, and to short and long term regional law enforcement results.  Bringing together the region’s experts to address new innovative ways of tackling these crime areas is the only way to really make people safe, both at home and abroad,” said INTERPOL’s Director of Capacity Building and Training, Harold O’Connell.

The two training sessions follow specialized training sessions delivered earlier this year, including a two-week border management session (Mali) and a one-week course on human trafficking investigations (Senegal).

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