U.S. Diplomatic Security Service (DS) Deputy Assistant Secretary John M. Eustace and Europol Deputy Director Wil van Gemert met this week in The Hague.
The two officials signed an agreement for the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service to join two of Europol’s Focal Points1: FP Phoenix targets trafficking in human beings and FP Checkpoint looks at migrant smuggling.
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) is the security and law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of State. It is a world leader in international investigations, threat analysis, cyber security, counterterrorism, security technology, and protection of people, property, and information. It is a member of the United States Government Law Enforcement Team at Europol.
Focal Point Phoenix – trafficking in human beings
As a Federal Agency with a strong global presence and competence inter alia over human trafficking cases, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security is considered by FP Phoenix as a valuable partner. The recent association of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security represents a consolidating effort in the already existing cooperation between the two entities in the fight against trafficking of human beings. Furthermore, the enhanced cooperation offers other Focal Point associates the opportunity to make use of the resources of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security – especially to benefit from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s international reach outside countries of the European Union, which are source regions for victims of human trafficking.
Trafficking in human beings is a serious crime and an abuse of an individual’s fundamental rights and dignity. It involves the exploitation of vulnerable persons traded by criminals as commodities for the sole purpose of economic gain.
Focal Point Checkpoint - migrant smuggling
On the other hand, combatting illegal immigration and travel document fraud is one of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s top investigative priorities and the value added through this cooperation is significant. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security has the ability to share migrant smuggling cases they investigate as well as to respond to any requests for investigative assistance from Focal Point Checkpoint and its members, dealing with non-EU countries around the world.
Migrant smuggling to and within the EU is a highly attractive business for criminal networks and has grown significantly since 2015. In Europe it is the fastest growing criminal market.
1 A Focal Point is an area within an information processing system offered by Europol which focuses on a certain phenomenon from a commodity based, thematic or regional angle e.g. trafficking in human beings, facilitation of irregular migration, drug trafficking etc. It allows Europol to provide analysis, prioritise resources, ensure purpose limitation and maintain focus on expertise.