Human TraffickingNewsOrganised Crime

INTERPOL Washington Supports Operation Maharlika III

INTERPOL Washington—the U.S. National Central Bureau (USNCB)—is providing critical system support to INTERPOL-led law enforcement operations throughout Southeast Asia. These database upgrades—made under the auspices of Project TERMINUS—demonstrated their on-going value during a recent INTERPOL operation codenamed Maharlika III which took place February 24th to March 20th.

During this operation, law enforcement partners from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines coordinated a series of simultaneous border and law enforcement actions leading to the arrest of more than 180 individuals, including one suspected member of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

According to an INTERPOL news release, the operation saw 82 victims of human trafficking, mainly young women, rescued by Philippine authorities. In addition, Indonesian authorities identified and rescued a 35 adults and 17 children, arriving from Malaysia. Authorities also seized firearms, illegally assembled explosives made of ammonium nitrate and other illicit goods and substances worth more than one million euros.

Under Project TERMINUS, the USNCB designed and supported custom high-performance INTERPOL screening solutions which enhanced selected Southeast Asian partner nation database integration with INTERPOL’s I-24/7 services, including the Stolen and Lost Travel Document (SLTD) databases. The systems facilitated direct access by Operation Maharlika III units to INTERPOL’s global databases, allowing authorities to run more than 13,000 checks on travel documents, firearms and nominal data. The USNCB team continues to provide onsite consultation for partner nation SLTD screening operation and enhancement.

The United States National Central Bureau’s Project TERMINUS mission is to extend secure global police communication systems in high risk areas and selected Host Nations globally. Due to challenges with technology and expertise, countries are lacking access to INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Document Database (SLTD) dataset, containing more than 97 million travel documents. In the fight against terrorism and the need for identification and prevention of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) movements, lack of access to technology presents a critical situation impeding efforts to identify and interdict FTF’s and other transnational criminals using stolen, lost or revoked documents (passports, identity documents, visa’s). By assisting in ensuring that law enforcement officers have access to INTERPOL’s I-24/7, enables authorized users to search and cross check data in a matter of seconds and share sensitive or urgent police information with their counterparts around the globe, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.