Morocco: On occasion of the European Union Anti-Human Trafficking Day, UNODC and the EU strengthen Cooperation to Dismantle Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking Criminal Networks

18th October 2019 - Rabat, Morocco 

On the 18th of October 2019, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the European Union (EU) launched the Morocco country package of the regional project " Dismantling Criminal Networks Operating in North Africa and Involved in Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking."

The launch was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, State Ministry in charge of human rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Public Prosecutor Office, the National Commission to coordinate measures to combat and prevent trafficking in persons, and representatives of all national departments and institutions involved in the fight against human trafficking and migrant smuggling, the EU, Embassies, UN agencies, NGOs, partners, and members of the international community. The launch coincides with the EU Anti-Trafficking Day to shed light on the issue and increase the exchange of information, knowledge and best practices amongst the different actors involved.

"It is timely that a new partnership project takes off today to address the critical issues on dismantling criminal networks involved in human trafficking and smuggling of migrants bringing together a variety of operational knowledge, expertise and tools." Ms. Cristina Albertin, UNODC regional representative commented at the launch event.

Ambassador Claudia Wiedey, EU ambassador to Morocco, highlighted the importance of "safeguarding and protecting the lives of those in distress". She explained: "the traffickers remain persistent in exploiting those who are trafficked not only by asking for extra fees but also by threatening them even after they make it to the new countries."

This new project will support Morocco in:  

    1. Improving the detection and interception capacities of front-line officers and agencies;
    2. Strengthening the capacities of first responders to identify and investigate cases of migrant smuggling and human trafficking, while protecting trafficking victims and vulnerable migrants; 
    3. Building the skills and knowledge of law enforcement agencies that will allow for the effective and rapid dismantling of criminal networks;
    4. Strengthening the skills of criminal justice practitioners in cases of migrant smuggling and human trafficking, with an emphasis on regional and international cooperation.

The specificities and differences of the phenomena will be taken in to account, to ensure value added and results.

The official launch was followed by an operational training with the participation of law enforcement officers from the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN).

Dismantling the criminal networks operating in North Africa and involved in migrant smuggling and human Trafficking" is a three-year (2019-2022) €15 million regional joint initiative by the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) under the framework of the North Africa Window of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The project consists of a regional intervention covering Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia to support the effective dismantling of criminal networks involved in migrant smuggling and human trafficking, while at the same time upholding   the rights of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and vulnerable groups.