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06 December 2013

INTERPOL meeting in Iran results in pledge to create regional human trafficking task force

TEHRAN, Iran – Delegates at the 3rd INTERPOL Regional Operational Workshop on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings have agreed to establish a regional task force to coordinate operational activities throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and to encourage greater use of INTERPOL’s tools for combating these crimes.

During the two-day event (2 and 3 December), some 60 representatives from 16 countries and three international organizations discussed methods for increasing international police cooperation in the fields of human trafficking and people smuggling, and acknowledged the significant role of INTERPOL’s global tools and databases in fighting the transnational criminal networks involved.

Head of Iran’s National Police, Brigadier General Esmail Ahmadi Moghadam underlined ‘the need for effective law enforcement cooperation against trafficking in human beings and people smuggling in the region’, and commended INTERPOL’s leadership in this area.

As a first operational outcome of the meeting, attended by General Hossein Ashtari, the Head of Iran’s Public Security Police and Colonel Masood Rezvani, Head of INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in Iran, the Iranian authorities requested INTERPOL to issue four Blue Notices seeking information on suspected human traffickers and smugglers and pledged to request more in the future.

Highlighting the need for INTERPOL-coordinated operations to dismantle the criminal organizations behind these crimes, Hakan Erdal, coordinator with INTERPOL’s Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation unit, said the Organization would continue to provide its full support to the region.

INTERPOL will also assist in the creation of the regional human trafficking and people smuggling task force the workshop participants agreed to create. The task force will facilitate cooperation among law enforcement in the region and manage the future operational activities.

Countries attending the workshop were: Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey. Representatives from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Organization for Migration and the Economic Cooperation Organization also participated in the event.