BI, Interpol step up drive vs human smuggling

April 15, 2010 11:41 pm 

MANILA, April 15 — The Bureau of Immigration's (BI) is sending six of its officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to a special training program administered by the International police to bolster the bureau's capability in fighting human smuggling at the airports.

Immigration-Interpol unit chief Floro Balato Jr. said six members of the bureau’s migration compliance and monitoring group (MCMG) at the NAIA were taking part in the training program that started this week in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Dubbed as the Dismantling Smuggling Networks (DSN), the scheme aims to improve the knowledge and capability of immigration officers and other Philippine law enforcers in combating and crippling the syndicates involved in human smuggling, human trafficking and other transnational crimes.

Balato said a training staff from the Interpol general secretariat in Lyons, France arrived in Manila to conduct the training for the immigration officers and other selected participants from other Philippine law enforcement agencies.

Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan welcomed the Interpol project as a giant leap in the global campaign to stop people smuggling and illegal migration.

“This project deserves the support of governments throughout the world as it focuses on targeting and dismantling the syndicates responsible for victimizing the millions of people who were enticed to illegally travel abroad due to ignorance and poverty,” Libanan said.

According to Balato, the project’s launching in Manila was preceded last February by a two-day meeting that was hosted by the Interpol in Lyons, France and attended by representatives of law enforcement agencies from around the world.

The meeting focused on identifying methods to more effectively investigate and combat people smuggling by consolidating the efforts and resources of all law enforcement agencies globally.

The meeting was held in response to an increase in the number of people smuggling cases.

The meeting participants shared information on the criminal networks behind the crime and the routes used to smuggle people from the Middle East to the Americas via Europe, and also to identify emerging routes towards Southeast Asia.

Use of fraudulent documents was also a key issue in the meeting and the need for countries to provide border officials with access to Interpol’s database which currently contains more than 17 million entries.

The meeting in France was a sequel to a similar meeting held in Lima , Peru in October 2008 during which more than 20,000 international arrivals and departures were checked against Interpol’s database in order to identify individuals attempting to use fraudulent documents. (PNA) RMA/FMB


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