U.S. Army Africa (USARAF,) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe began a series of exercises focused on reducing human trafficking along migrant routes at the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units here, June 17.

“The prolonged instability in the Middle East, Sahel and the Horn of Africa has given rise to migration flows on an unprecedented scale,” said OSCE Secretary General Ambassador Lamberto Zannier during his opening remarks. “This phenomenon has assumed alarming proportions and continues to cause appalling human tragedies.”

The surge in migrants also brings with it financial opportunities for those involved in trafficking.

“Migration and human trafficking are becoming increasingly intertwined,” said Zannier. “Many of those escaping misery and persecution fall into the hands of trafficking syndicated that operate along migration routes and take advantage of their situation.”