Sharm El-Sheikh, Arab Republic of Egypt – 4 September 2022
The Regional Conference on “The way forward for countering illicit financial proceeds from Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants: Priorities and Challenges” begins today in Sharm El-Sheikh. The Conference is organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (ROMENA) in partnership with the Egyptian Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit and with the support of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Conference is attended by more than 70 representatives from relevant law enforcement agencies, Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), public prosecution, judiciary, and financial sectors from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, in addition to experts and guest speakers from regional and international organizations. The Conference will take place from the 4th to the 6th of September 2022.
Judge, Ahmed Said Khalil Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Egyptian Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit stated during the opening of the conference that “Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants are among the most serious crimes carried out by organized criminal groups. Those groups receive financial proceeds as a result of such crimes, the value of which varies according to the State to which the persons are smuggled or the related offence. There are many forms of trafficking in persons, there is trafficking in children and persons for the purpose of forced marriage, trafficking in persons for forced labour and trafficking in persons for organ removal. It should be noted that trafficking in persons is one of the most profitable organized crimes, with its activities generating substantial profits of billions of dollars; so, criminals always hide those profits, by misuse of bank accounts, creating shell companies, buying real estate, precious metals and luxury cars; and other means.”
“The crimes of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants are amongst the most profitable crimes, generating billions of illicit financial proceeds every year. Hence, the primary purpose of this regional conference is to bring together key stakeholders from different fields including Financial Intelligence Units, Judiciary, Prosecution, Law Enforcement and National Committees as well as banks and financial institutions to strengthen collaboration and information sharing – to effectively address those crimes,” Ms. Cristina Albertin, UNODC Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa affirmed.
From his side, H.E. Mr. Han-Maurits Schaapveld, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Egypt, asserted that “We are glad to cooperate with Egypt, Algeria and Morocco within the framework of this project which started in 2019. The concerted efforts made reflect the commitment of the three countries to tackle the phenomenon of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. We have seen the training of a large number of specialized practitioners from various entities in different jurisdictions and on multiple topics. These trainings not only develop tactical abilities of those in charge, but also raise the level of awareness among societies on the importance of confronting these two crimes and associated money laundering.”
The Regional Conference is held in the framework of the project “Strengthening the financial investigation capacity to combat money laundering arising from Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (TIP/SOM)”, which is funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The three days will involve concrete exchanges of knowledge and expertise and sessions on the importance of financial investigations as a powerful line of investigation in Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants cases. They will also tackle the value of collective efforts from different agencies in a financial investigation and insights into new and emerging payment methods and technologies. These deliberations will culminate into a set of recommendations that support the relevant actions by the participating Member States in the future.
For further information, please contact:
Ms. Nermine Abdelhamid
Communications and Visibility Officer
Embassy of the Netherlands in Egypt
Ms. Sally Barsoum
Policy Officer for Public Diplomacy