Morocco has cracked down on human trafficking and illegal immigrants to the country by dismantling 80 human trafficking networks and foiling 50,000 illegal immigration attempts this year alone, according to the Director of Immigration at Morocco’s Ministry of the Interior, Khaled Zerouali.
Since 2004, Moroccan authorities have cracked down on 3,000 human trafficking cells, according to Zerouali who was speaking at the 35th Forum of Presidents of the Legislative Bodies of Central America and the Caribbean Basin (FOPREL) in Rabat this week.
Zerouali added that the security measures taken by Morocco to eradicate criminal networks are part of a comprehensive policy towards immigration that is influenced by a humanitarian approach which prioritises the rights of immigrants.
He further warned of the convergence of criminal networks and terrorist organisations in the Sahel, with several terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, founding various human trafficking chains as a way to finance their terrorist schemes in the region.
Around $175 million has been gained from human trafficking activities which Morocco wants to crackdown in countering this activity through tightening border control and monitoring.
Addressing the threats posed by human trafficking networks requires close trans-border cooperation, according Zerouali who noted that Morocco’s southern borders remain insulated from any incursion and that the Sahara is the only region in the Sahel that remains at bay from terrorism.
Zerouali criticised the eastern borders with Algeria as being an area of “concern” in which he accused Algerian authorities of not cooperating in the crackdown.
Algeria’s own security forces have been successful in quelling terror activities in the country and reducing their area of influence by regularly dismantling terror cells and arresting group leaders to prevent them from recruiting vulnerable members of society.
Tunisia has worked with Algeria over a number of years and been trained to oust its own terror issues including Daesh fighters attempting to enter the country through its porous borders and recruit following heavy losses suffered in Libya.