The EUROFRONT cooperation program works with the Binational Border Care Center in Desaguadero
Desaguadero, on the border between Peru and Bolivia, was recently a meeting place for specialists from three European Union cooperation programs and professionals working at the Binational Border Assistance Center (CEBAF).
A total of 25 people met to exchange knowledge and thus improve international cooperation processes against organized crime, mainly between police, prosecutors and migration agents. Since 2008, the EU has been supporting the fight against cross-border crime through various instruments, including bilateral programs in Bolivia and Peru.
As with other border crossings in Latin America, Desaguadero presents a complicated access, with particularly vulnerable points used by mafias and criminal groups to achieve their objectives. In the face of these problems, Peru and Bolivia have acted to demonstrate a high level of bilateral relations, particularly in the fight against illicit drug and arms trafficking, illegal mining, illegal timber extraction, human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, illicit trafficking of flora and wildlife, and cybercrime.
Juan Manuel del Valle, Chief Inspector of the Spanish National Police and EUROFRONT Program expert in the detection of false documents, explains the nature of cross-border crime and its complexity for security and human rights professionals: “A person is recruited in his village (small town in Bolivia), and after being treated is sent to Europe, specifically to a brothel in Spain, for which he has had to travel through different countries to reach his final destination, for which the organization has provided him with false documentation. On her journey she passed through the border post of Desaguadero, until she arrived in Lima, where she was forced to take the plane. It is at the Peru-Bolivia CEBAF post where this documentation should be inspected and checked to verify that it is false, detect the trafficking and proceed”.
In this chain of cooperation against crime, Gilles Sabatier, Divisional Commissioner of the French National Police and expert of the “Bilateral project for EU support in the fight against drugs and organized crime in Peru” explains to us: “The CEBAF’s role is to expedite, under an integrated control system, the circulation of approximately 100,000 cargo trucks and 8,800 tourist vehicles that move each year through the border area between Peru and Bolivia. Finally, Joaquín López Gallego, Prosecutor and specialist in the fight against human trafficking for the “Bilateral project for EU support in the fight against drug trafficking in Bolivia (bridging phase 2021- 2023)” states that “the existing dispersion in the norms that regulate the different aspects of the phenomenon of human trafficking seriously hinders its effective treatment”.
This regulatory harmonization is for the expert one of the main challenges, along with the need to reduce the inequality gap between North/South: “this would contribute substantially to reduce the expansive effect of one of the criminogenic factors of trafficking such as extreme poverty, associated with the gender issue and, similarly and in a comparable situation, official corruption whose high levels have a substantial impact on the favoring of the crime and contribute to maintaining impunity”.