U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today visited Ottawa, Canada to participate in the Cross-Border Crime Forum with Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General Rob Nicholson, and Canadian Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews. Secretary Napolitano, Attorney General Holder and Minister Toews also signed a memorandum of understanding to better prevent and combat human smuggling and trafficking.
"Our productive discussions today at the Cross Border Crime Forum go a long way toward advancing a key pillar of the Beyond the Border initiative that President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed last year: integrated law enforcement that adds value to our relationship by leveraging shared resources, improving information sharing and increasing coordination of efforts, while ensuring the safety of the citizens of both our countries," said Attorney General Holder. " I am grateful to our Canadian counterparts for their indispensable work to combat exploitation, abuse, and violence; and to strengthen the critical ties that bind our nations together. With the signing of this important memorandum, we signal a renewed commitment to the goals and values that our nations share to prevent and combat human trafficking."
"We must stop individuals and transnational criminal organizations that seek to exploit the border shared by the United States and Canada to traffic drugs, arms and other illicit goods," said Secretary Napolitano. "We will continue to work closely with our Canadian partners through greater operational collaboration and intelligence sharing to strengthen the security of both our nations within, at, and away from our border."
During the Forum, Secretary Napolitano, Attorney General Holder, Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General Nicholson and Minister Toews discussed collaborative efforts to advance President Obama and Prime Minister Harper's Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness initiative. The Beyond the Border Action Plan outlines the specific steps both countries will take to achieve the security and economic competitiveness goals from the Beyond the Border Declaration. They also focused on efforts to develop the next-generation of integrated cross-border law enforcement operations, and improve information sharing practices to enhance the mutual security of the United States and Canada.
"Our Government is pleased to work with our U.S. counterparts to combat cross-border crime," said the Honorable Rob Nicholson. "Ongoing cooperation between our countries allows for the most effective investigation and prosecution of crime when criminal activities cross our border."
"The Forum remains an excellent opportunity for Canada and the U.S. to advance cooperation in the areas of law enforcement, criminal justice and intelligence," said Minister Toews. "Our government is focused on the economy and creating jobs, and I am particularly pleased with the progress being made on initiatives announced under the Beyond the Border Action Plan."
While in Ottawa, Attorney General Holder, Secretary Napolitano and Minister Toews signed a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center and the Canadian Human Trafficking National Coordination Center. The agreement between these two centers will facilitate the sharing of critical information on human trafficking to combat and disrupt transnational criminal organizations.