03/20/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/20/2023 05:08
EUROFRONT has organised the 1st Regional Meeting for the Fight against Cross-Border Crime in Bogota to exchange training needs between countries.
Experts from 8 countries at the meeting in Bogotá
Bogota hosted the I Regional Meeting for the Fight against Cross-Border Crime. It was organised by the European programme EUROFRONT, for the security of the region by strengthening border management and supporting the fight against human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.
The meeting took place a few weeks after Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, visited Colombia and Ecuador to strengthen cooperation between the European Union and key third countries in the global fight against organised crime.
The meeting's round-table discussions were attended by officials specialising in border management from Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru, and technical staff from Spain, Italy and France. In addition, three other EU programmes complementary to EUROFRONT actions participated in the dynamics: SEACOP V, PAcCTO and the project to support European Union law enforcement in the fight against drugs and organised crime in Peru. All of them managed by the FIIAPP in collaboration with its different partners.
Tito Contreras, Cooperation Officer of the EU Delegation in Colombia, stressed the importance of applying the regional perspective to the actions of European cooperation: "Crime has had a capacity to evolve and reorganise itself very quickly, and it corresponds to this challenge to have an equal or greater capacity to articulate itself, to coordinate the actions of different police forces in Latin America and to combine all types of response".
The meeting brought together specialists in various types of crime to discuss in depth the training needs in their specialities and countries. In total, eight subjects were addressed: illicit drug trafficking, vehicle trafficking, arms trafficking, organised crime and itinerant crime, the environment, historical heritage, industrial property and human trafficking and smuggling.
Víctor Suárez, EUROFRONT expert, states that the topics for which there is a greater demand for training activities are: illicit drug trafficking (in particular on the South America-EU routes, which requires joint work), illicit vehicle trafficking (modalities, methodology and investigation techniques necessary to combat it), the exchange of information to detect organised crime gangs, and the use of common database systems to combat illicit arms trafficking.
Following the meeting, the participating groups agreed on future activities in the framework of EUROFRONT. Among them, it has been agreed that the programme will support the Tripartite Command formed by Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. It will provide accompaniment and technical assistance to the management board and, in parallel, organise a Workshop Meeting of Specialists on organised crime for personnel dedicated to border management in Paraguay. Progress was also made in defining a bilateral Colombia-Ecuador activity to train agents who regulate migratory flows and provide services on the border between the two countries.
One of the most alarming issues is the increase in illegal mining as a source of financing for criminal groups. Also of concern is the consolidation of drug trafficking routes that are being exploited for other illicit activities, especially human trafficking and migrant smuggling. These are problems which EUROFRONT, in dialogue and coordination with the authorities of the partner countries, will continue to address in depth.
The main common challenge identified among the four EU programmes that attended was the organisation of joint activities that address these issues in a cross-cutting manner. The Latin American delegations emphasised the need to continue facilitating spaces for the sharing of ideas in order to strengthen cooperation between the region and the European Union.