UAE helps Interpol bust global human trafficking gangs

The UAE and 46 other countries have participated in a major Interpol crackdown on criminal groups behind human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Interpol said around 430 victims were rescued and 286 suspects were arrested worldwide in the special operation, which was carried out earlier this month.

Law enforcement officials from 47 nations participated in 'Operation Liberterra' (5 - 9 July), carrying out some 500,000 inspections at checkpoints and airports as well as at hotspots identified through intelligence and investigations.

Twenty-two criminal groups were dismantled, while 4,000 irregular migrants originating from 74 different countries were identified.

Many of them required medical, psychological and housing assistance and were taken into the care of protective services.

The UAE hosted an Operation Coordination Unit during 'Operation Liberterra'.

Operational highlights included:

  • Algerian authorities dismantled a smuggling group focusing on maritime routes to European coasts
  • Colombia dismantled two different criminal organizations, making 22 arrests. While one group was dedicated to smuggling migrants to the US, the other group focused on bringing Cuban and Haitian migrants from Ecuador into Colombia. In addition, two subjects of INTERPOL Red Notices wanted internationally by Spain for human trafficking were arrested
  • Authorities in Ecuador arrested 8 suspects who smuggled migrants to the US using a legitimate travel agency as a cover to book flights via Mexico
  • Officers in Ghana intercepted two Nigerian suspects accused of running a human trafficking ring between Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria
  • Six members of an organized crime group were arrested in North Macedonia. The leader had been working with associates in the Middle East to smuggle migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Syria to Greece
  • Authorities in Sudan rescued 253 victims of human trafficking, arresting 32 suspects
  • An organized crime group based in Spain which smuggled migrants by sea from Algeria to the Spanish coast was dismantled

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