The Project

Disrupting Criminal Trafficking and Smuggling Networks through increased Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Investigations capacity in the Greater Horn of Africa (AML/THB)

Human trafficking and migrant smuggling have become one of the most profitable crimes in the Greater Horn of Africa region: An Ethiopian migrant moving to Yemen via Somalia may pay up to US$ 1,540 for the journey to smugglers, while maritime crossings from Somalia to Yemen reportedly cost up to US$ 2,504. Given the high number of people that use these migration routes every year, the benefits generated by these criminal activities are huge.

Despite recent leaps in socioeconomic development in the area, most countries in the Greater Horn of Africa -Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Yemen- still have low investigative capacity and skills to trace the significant flow of money generated by these crimes. Research has also shown a lack of understanding of the damage caused by this type of crime, and the link it has to other forms of organised crime, including terrorism.

Some of the weak links in disrupting money laundering and its associated risks include a lack of knowledge of the vulnerabilities of financial institutions, a lack of preventive measures put in place, and a lack of trust among stakeholders and governments.

‘Disrupting criminal trafficking and smuggling networks through increased anti-money laundering and financial investigation capacity in the Greater Horn of Africa’

(AML/THB) is a regional programme, funded by the European Union’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF). The aim of this programme is to improve the coordination and investigation methods used against cross-border criminal organisations that profit from irregular migration, human trafficking and other types of organised crime, with an aim to disrupt these criminal activities.

The main beneficiaries of this programme are financial intelligence units, law enforcement and border management agencies, judicial authorities, as well as financial institutions of participating countries.

The programme will support the development of national and regional anti-money laundering techniques, including tracing and seizing assets and criminal proceeds, crime investigation and prosecution. This will be done by supporting the analytical and operational capacity in financial investigation and anti-money laundering techniques of national and regional bodies and increased coordination and collaboration between national services and countries in the region.

Key Objectives and Activities

1. Increased national capacity in anti-money laundering and countering illicit financial flows

Examples of activities:

  • Support law enforcement agencies in skills development to initiate investigations after receiving information from a financial institution; 
  • Enable financial institutions to better cooperate and reply to requests from law enforcement agencies under relevant legal procedures;
  • Train FIU to better analyse information to identify persons of interest / suspicious activity / patterns and networks.

The programe will support research, analysis and evidence-based intelligence in this field, as well as raise awareness of the human and financial losses of human trafficking and smuggling, and their link to other forms of crime, such as terrorism.

Examples of activities:

  • Increase awareness amongst the private sector and financial services of its exposure to and ability to disrupt the financing of human trafficking;
  • Raise awareness among financial institutions and designated non-financial business or professions on how human trafficking networks may support terrorist organisations.

Due to the transnational nature of these crimes, regional cooperation is key. The programme will hence facilitate exchange of information and best practices between countries and with other relevant networks and regional bodies. 

Examples of activities:

  • Regional workshops to increase operational and information exchange, bringing together FIUs, law enforcement and judicial officials, as well as non-state actors, notably CSOs and the private sector, where relevant;
  • International study visits and exchange programmes with European, Asian and the Middle East countries/institutions;
  • Establish cooperation networks, including with the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), Interpol, the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).


This programme builds on the achievements and lessons learned from the ongoing “Anti-Money Laundering/ Countering the Financing of Terrorism in the Greater Horn of Africa” (AML/CFT) project, which was funded by the EU’s Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP, EUR 6 million).

The programme will also, when appropriate, build synergies by, for example, developing joint-activities and trainings with: Better Migration Management (BMM); Regional Operational Centre in support of the Khartoum Process and AU-Horn of Africa Initiative (ROCK); EAC joint response to regional and cross border security threats; Countering the Financing of terrorism, Anti money laundering – Worldwide (AML/CFT Global); Countering the Finance of terrorism, Anti money laundering-MENA programme; and the Danish Strengthening Ethiopia’s capacity to counter money laundering and illicit financial lows programme.