EUROPOL has launched a new taskforce aimed at tackling criminal people smuggling and human trafficking rings.
It will allow liaison officers from all EU Member States to step up the fight against constantly adapting criminal networks.
Spain has long been in the frontline when it comes to the fight against migrant smuggling groups. The Guardia Civil and National Police have also had significant success is tackling the ‘white slave’ trade that forces women into prostitution after smuggling them into the country.
The aim of the Europol taskforce is to share intelligence between EU countries to identify networks and prioritise, prepare, and execute cross-border operations.
Called the Joint Liaison Task Force Migrant Smuggling and Trafficking in Human Beings (JLT-MS), it will increase the support mechanism already available to member states, including analytical capabilities and tools.
The task force will provide a joint platform for direct contact and better coordination and cooperation between law enforcement authorities.
The JLT-MS platform will also improve the joint development of stronger operational strategies which will help disrupt international criminal networks even more efficiently, targeting high value targets.
It will also target the proceeds of crime, and increase the effectiveness of parallel financial investigations, in particular money laundering and asset recovery.
Europol’s Deputy Executive Director Operations, Wil van Gemert said: “Offering a ‘service’ in high demand, criminal networks of migrant smugglers are not shy about using violence and violating the basic human rights of their ‘clients’.
“Our experts helped member states’ law enforcement agencies in tackling criminal networks during 39 Action Days on the ground, leading to more than 600 arrested suspects of migrant smuggling in 2018.
“The criminal networks are constantly reshaping their business models to avoid law enforcement radars. This is why through this new JLT-MS, EU Member States with the support of Europol will target even more effectively this major threat for human lives posed by criminal networks involved in migrant smuggling and trafficking of human beings.”