IOM supports Somalia and Kenya to Strengthen their Collaboration to Tackle Transnational Organized Crime
Machakos, Kenya – Border officials and law enforcement specialists from the Governments of Somalia and Kenya met in Machakos, Kenya in February to discuss joint practices to address transnational organized crime thanks to a workshop organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants are the most common translational crimes found between the Kenyan and Somalia borders. 479 arrests related to immigration violations took place in Somalia last year (2022 Trafficking in Persons Report: Somalia), while authorities from Kenya identified 482 victims of trafficking in the country, the majority Kenyan (2022 Trafficking in Persons Report: 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report: Kenya)
“Illicit activities from criminal groups across the border pose a serious threat to the stability of the region and the well-being of migrants that often fall victims of trafficking and smuggling,” said Frantz Celestin, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission.
Limited border management mechanisms and the region’s largely porous borders have also made possible for criminal bands and extremist groups to trade with illegal weapons and drugs without fearing prosecution as well as moving criminals in between countries.
With IOM’s support, Somalia and Kenya are working on a framework to address transnational organized crime. The new framework, discussed during the workshop, will set out new mechanisms, recommendations and practices to enhance the cooperation between both countries to counter cross-border crimes and minimize threats from criminals.
“IOM’s decades of experience working with authorities to address border management challenges in the region are vital to make migration safer and contribute to both countries sustainable development,” said Celestin.
Bringing the two countries together has already encouraged to initiate dialogues related to improving the cooperation in strategic border points.
“Frontline border officers, police, immigration, and other law enforcement officials, play a crucial role in the operational aspects of the fight against cross-border organized crime —in either the detection of suspect individuals or people travelling on false documents,” said Emrah Guler, IOM Kenya Deputy Chief of Mission.
“These threats require national and regional responses, ranging from the involvement of policymakers and high-level officials to cross-border communities,”
Improved cross-border cooperation allows the border agencies and border communities to collaborate with one another while upholding and protecting migrant rights.
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