The INTERPOL General Secretariat has deployed an Operational Support Team to Moldova within the framework of the organization’s response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Coming at the request of Moldova’s INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) in Chisinau, the mission is providing on-the-ground support to law enforcement and humanitarian agencies managing the large outflow of refugees entering the country from Ukraine.
The INTERPOL team will consult and cooperate with Moldova’s General Inspectorate of Police, the General Inspectorate of Border Police, as well as international organizations such as the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund and the International Organization for Migration in areas such as human trafficking, migration and border management.
INTERPOL’s deployment to Moldova also comes within the framework of its cooperation with EU agencies EUBAM (The European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine), Europol and Frontex.
The scope of INTERPOL’s operational and strategic assistance to Moldova’s law enforcement agencies was discussed in a meeting on March 24 with the country’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Ana Revenco.
“In this period of time, we need the support and assistance that INTERPOL can offer to overcome the challenges and consequences resulting from the region’s evolving situation,” Minister Revenco said. “We are grateful for INTERPOL’s responsiveness and look forward to a productive collaboration.”
The INTERPOL team will provide immediate field support to law enforcement and humanitarian organizations and help evaluate the situation on the ground, identifying needs in order to provide relevant training, analysis and operational support. The mission will be based in Chisinau and different refugee camps hosting those who have recently fled Ukraine.
Within the broader region, INTERPOL has already received reports of human traffickers and smugglers waiting at various border control checkpoints to prey on vulnerable populations arriving from Ukraine. Children and unaccompanied minors are especially vulnerable to exploitation by smugglers and traffickers.
The INTERPOL team in Moldova is working with national authorities to identify and prevent organized criminal activity from taking advantage of the crisis. Part of the team includes members of INTERPOL’s recently-launched Project Soteria, which targets individuals who seek to exploit positions in the aid and humanitarian sector to commit sexual abuse and exploitation.
“Criminals use every opportunity to boost their illicit profits and not everyone who has flocked to the Ukrainian border in the past month is doing so with good intentions,” said Jürgen Stock, Secretary General of INTERPOL. “INTERPOL is proud to stand with law enforcement in Moldova to protect the most vulnerable and will continue our work with other countries to provide an effective response,” added the Secretary General.