Egypt and Italy Strengthen Cooperation against Migrant Smuggling

 06th July 2018 - Rome, Catania

A delegation of high-ranking officials from the Republic of Egypt Public Prosecutor's Office (PPO), the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and the Administrative Control Authority(ACA) took part in a study visit organized by the UNODC Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (ROMENA) within the context the Global Project against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT). The study visit took place in Italy from 2-6 July and involved 11 Egyptian officials.

The visit aimed at providing the participants with insight into the Italian institutional responses to the smuggling of migrants and enhancing cooperation between Italy and Egypt to counter this crime. The Egyptian delegates were extensively briefed on recent trends in migration flows towards Italy and Europe, and on the Italian legislative framework, as well as on investigative approaches and techniques to counter organized crime, especially the smuggling of migrants and the trafficking in persons, as the two crimes can be tightly interlinked.

Briefing sessions focused not only on criminal justice aspects, but also on search and rescue operations, procedures at disembarkation, humanitarian assistance, return and readmission agreements, support and protection programs for trafficked persons. Other topics included techniques for identification of trafficked persons within mixed migration flows, and the relation between the asylum protection system and programs for trafficked persons. During each visit, the delegation had the opportunity to discuss topics of interest in detail with the Italian counterparts.

During the study tour, the Egyptian delegation visited numerous counterparts in Rome and Catania, including relevant departments of the Ministry of Interior (MOI): The Department of Public Security, the Central Directorate for Immigration and Border Police, the National Centre for the Coordination of Immigration 'Roberto Iavarone', and the Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration. This is in addition to the National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Directorate, the Department for Equal Opportunities at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the Police Headquarters and the Prosecutor's Office in Catania.

At the Port of Catania, briefings were organized by the State Police units responsible for disembarkation, the Financial Police (Guardia di Finanza) and the Italian Coastguard.

Egyptian officials also met with representatives of Frontex, Europol, EASO and the European Regional Task Force (EURTF) in Catania. 

Moreover, the Egyptian delegation had the opportunity to visit a shelter for minors hosting trafficked persons and was briefed on assistance and protection measures for victims of trafficking in Italy, with a special focus on the protection of minors (trafficked and non-trafficked).

At the end of the visit, the representatives of each Egyptian institution debriefed on the results of the study tour and expressed their gratitude to the Italian Ministry of Interior (MOI) for the outstanding program and the impeccable organization of the high-level meetings conducted, and to UNODC/ROMENA for making the visit possible within its capacity building activities under GLO.ACT.

Notably, the  Study Visit came in the context of the GLO. ACT. Project, funded by the European Union.