“Only with good regional co-operation and engagement of European security institutions we can efficiently counter this very serious form of international organised crime,” said Dragan Mektić, Minister of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He highlighted that strengthening regional co-operation was imperative in order to prevent migration-related crimes, primarily smuggling of persons and international human trafficking. “This seminar will enable the participants to expand their focus beyond prevention and prosecution and build international network of contacts,” said Mektić.
Guy Vinet, Head of the OSCE Transnational Threats Department/Strategic Police Matters Unit, said that the world has become ever more globalized over the past decades and while international co-operation has increased, cleavages have also become visible. “It is more important than ever to work together to properly address the issues posed by transnational threats, including those deriving from migration-related crimes.”
The objective of the seminar is to identify gaps, challenges and good practices in responding to such crimes, as well as to strengthen information-sharing networks between countries of origin, transit and destination, using a multidisciplinary approach and also paying attention to the vulnerability of migrants.
Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH, Bruce Berton, said that events like these should help the security sector in BiH and other SEE countries address the pressing challenges. “This seminar provided participants with an opportunity to focus on prevention, prosecution, international and cross-border co-operation and building important networks that would inevitably strengthen the overall response to smuggling of persons, trafficking in human beings and migration-related crimes.”
Peter Van Der Auweraert, IOM Sub-Regional Co-ordinator for the Western Balkans, said that there is no lack of political will or legal provisions for the protection for migrants. “The gap is in implementation,” he said. “Increasing governments’ and civil society’s capacity to identify and assist migrants in vulnerable situations, based on individual vulnerability assessments, should be further fostered.”
Morgane Nicot, UNOCD Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, said that through past meeting success stories of dismantling of migrants smuggling networks, thanks to effective international co-operation, has demonstrated the value of this annual seminar to take stock of challenges and share good practices in addressing human trafficking and migrant smuggling. “This brought to light that where deprivation of liberty no longer appears to be an effective threat, the targeting of financial assets seems more feared by traffickers and smugglers," said Nicot.
The seminar is hosted by the OSCE/Transnational Threats Department/Strategic Police Matters Unit, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in co-operation with the OSCE Mission to BiH.
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