Maghreb Arab Press

80 Human Trafficking Cells Dismantled, 50,000 Illegal Immigration Attempts Foiled in 2017 (Official)

Rabat  -  
Morocco adopts a global approach to migration that includes, in addition to the human dimension, a security approach that enabled the Kingdom to dismantle 80 human trafficking cells and foil 50,000 illegal immigration attempts in 2017, Khalid Zerouali, Director of Migration and Border Surveillance at the Ministry of the Interior, said Tuesday in Rabat.

Speaking at the 35th Forum of Presidents of the Legislative Bodies of Central America and the Caribbean Basin (FOPREL), the Moroccan official said that this security approach is aimed at tightening the noose grip around human trafficking criminal networks, noting that more than 3,000 active human trafficking networks have been dismantled since 2004.

The Sahel and Sahara region has become a favorite hunting ground for criminal networks whose activities intersect with those of terrorist networks in the region, he added.

In addition to their participation in the smuggling of cigarettes and cocaine and hostage-takings, terrorist organizations have also become active in human trafficking, which is a major source of funding with $ 175 million generated each year, Zeouali pointed out.

Morocco is the only country in the region to have secured its borders, he added, noting that the Moroccan Sahara is the only region of the Sahel and Sahara where no terrorist activity has been carried out.

Zerouali also stressed the importance of international cooperation in dealing with security challenges related to human trafficking, adding that the Kingdom is cooperating with its regional partners to adopt a unified border control strategy based on North-South cooperation.

He also recalled the launching by Morocco of its new immigration and asylum policy, adding that Moroccan authorities have accepted more than 23,000 applications out of a total of 24,000 as part of the second phase of the regularization process of sub-Saharan migrants.

Morocco also encourages the voluntary return of migrants within a framework that guarantees their rights and seeks to facilitate their integration into their countries of origin, he said, adding that the Kingdom has overseen the voluntary return of more than 22,000 migrants.

FOPREL, which was created in 1994, aims at boosting legislation enforcement and homologation mechanisms of the member countries.

FOPREL is composed of the parliaments of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Chile and Puerto Rico.

Morocco is an observer member in the Forum since 2014.

Last modified : 14 November 2017

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