Mexico City, May 25, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT) and Mexico’s Office of the Attorney General (PGR) sponsored a Trinational Forum today in Mexico City, bringing together Amber Alert Coordinators from Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The forum aimed to create mechanisms for the international coordination of Amber Alerts in order to better respond to potential cross-border cases of missing children. Towards this goal, participants examined protocols and procedures the three countries might implement to improve communication, cooperation, and coordination in cases involving missing children.
Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez opened the forum, and highlighted the importance of international cooperation in the identification of missing children, noting that the Amber Alert program “rompe con las barreras de la comunicacion, el tiempo, y la distancia,” and highlighted that the “neutralizacion y la desarticulacion de grupos delictivos y de sus operaciones ya no pueden depender de limites marcados por fronteras o identidades nacionales.”
Senior Resident Legal Advisor Ray Gattinella similarly told participants, “We currently have 75 open abduction cases from the United States to Mexico and 183 open cases from Mexico to the United States. So it makes sense that our countries would continue the collaboration on Amber Alert we started four years ago and begin coordinating on potential cross-border and interstate missing children cases.”
OPDAT assisted PGR in the creation and implementation of Amber Alert Mexico based on the U.S. program in May 2012. Since that time, Amber Alert has led to the rescue of over 350 children in Mexico. The program has also become a central piece of OPDAT’s programming in Mexico under the Merida Initiative. The United States immensely values the cooperation and collaboration from both Mexico and Canada in this critical area.