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Minister opens first Law Enforcement Joint Management Group Forum on People Smuggling

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The Hon Michael Keenan MP Minister for Justice


16 June 2014


Minister for Justice Michael Keenan today opened the first Law Enforcement Joint Management Group on People Smuggling in Sydney on behalf of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB).

“The ever-changing criminal environment requires our constant attention to confront the challenges of transnational crime such as illegal people smuggling,” Mr Keenan said.

“Border security is complex, it is multilateral, and it requires significant diplomatic and law enforcement interest to achieve success.

“We welcome the knowledge and experience of our partners throughout our region and value the opportunity to strengthen relationships focusing on law enforcement cooperation, intelligence gathering and exchange, and capability development.”

Law enforcement representatives from India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Thailand have travelled to Australia to discuss people smuggling issues in the region and also learn how the implementation of OSB has synchronised and coordinated Australia’s response to maritime smuggling in Australia.

Mr Keenan told the forum efforts to combat people smuggling should not be considered in isolation from other transnational crime.

“Organised crime groups are profit driven, constantly looking for new opportunities and operating across domestic and international borders,” Mr Keenan said.

“For that reason, it is important that strong people smuggling laws are complemented by strong approaches to other transnational crimes such as drugs, firearms trafficking and money laundering.

“It has now been almost six months without a successful people smuggling venture. If we can continue developing strategies to target these organised crime syndicates who have little regard to the risk to human lives, we can apply the same ambition to rub out organised criminal enterprise in our region,” Mr Keenan said.

“As regional partners our joint ambition to undermine the business models of these criminals is our advantage.

“Offenders should know we are not a region of safe haven for transnational crime figures.”

Media contact: Emily Broadbent 0400 390 008