INTERPOL operation frees 430 human trafficking victims with 286 suspects arrested

Criminal groups behind human trafficking and migrant smuggling have been hit hard in an operation coordinated by INTERPOL, with 286 suspects arrested worldwide.

Law enforcement officials from 47 countries took part in Operation Liberterra between 5th-9th July 2021, carrying out some 500,000 inspections at checkpoints and airports as well as at hotspots identified through intelligence and investigations. Authorities rescued 430 human trafficking victims and identified 4,000 irregular migrants originating from 74 different countries. Many of them required medical, psychological and housing assistance and were taken into the care of protective services.

In addition, 60 new transnational investigations were started. Fake or stolen identity documents remain crucial when it comes to helping people cross borders illegally, with such documents seized on every continent. On the first day of the operation, authorities in Tanzania arrested a Ugandan bus driver carrying a box of 169 forged passports from Kampala to Dar Es Salaam.

“Operation Liberterra is a five-day snapshot of the global trafficking and smuggling situation, and how multinational, highly organized criminal networks only focus on one thing: profit,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock. “With 22 criminal groups dismantled, it also shows what coordinated, global law enforcement action can achieve.”



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