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Terrorism thrives on human trafficking, says expert


Hisham Aljundi
Doha
ONE of the main reasons for the growing menace of terrorism is large-scale human trafficking, said a Singaporean expert on the second day of the 5th Interpol Global Conference on Trafficking in Human Beings and Smuggling of Migrants on Thursday.
Dr Rohan Gunaratna of the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore said that Islamic State Group (ISIS), which has emerged as the largest terror organisation of the decade, thrives on its association with international human trafficking networks that smuggle thousands into Syria, Iraq and other conflict areas.
He pointed out that ISIS is expanding internationally by smuggling foreign fighters whose total number is estimated at approximately 21,000, including even graduates of international universities.
Gunaratna called for curbing trafficking in human beings through effective partnership among countries and creating a"common database by involving anti-trafficking officers from those countries".
He also called for exchange of expertise among countries, establishment of joint operations and advanced training for those engaged in the field.
Speaking at a panel discussion on multiple criminal activities and smuggling of migrants, Spanish security expert Alvaro Rod Riggis Gaia (Europol Centre) said that 45 percent of the terrorist groups in the European Union have links with other criminal activities and 50 percent of the financing of criminal operations is done through cash payments and hawala system.
He noted that the multiple criminal activities needed a cross-border response and support for airport law enforcement authorities, referring to the terrorist attacks in the European Union.
He said that he established a special centre to combat human trafficking and terrorism in 2016.
Michael Calvo from the Department of Homeland Security of the United States said that those engaged in human trafficking often seek unauthorised access to financial institutions by requesting services to send financial transactions to accounts in the areas where criminals live.

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