Countries need to step up their border management to tackle increasing transnational crime, speakers at the Interpol World Congress said Tuesday.
Lapses in border security have played a role in allowing an estimated 16,000 militants to leave their countries for extremist activities or conflicts, as of January 2014, they said.
More than 40 million travel documents have been reported lost or stolen across the world, far more than are forged, but fewer than 20 member nations make use of the Interpol travel document database on a regular basis, the international police cooperation body said.
"We are not using the facilities we have," said Mark Joynes, director of product management at the security company Entrust Datacard.
The case of two Iranian nationals who boarded missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 using stolen passports was also mentioned.
"A lot of resources were spent trying to find out who they were," even if there has been no indication they were connected to the disappearance, said Attila Freska, chief operating officer of Securiport, which makes biometric identification systems.
"This could have been avoided through correlation between entry record and exit record through biometric data, and authentication of the travel document itself."
"The technology is there, it just needs to be used," he said.
Many of the militants involved in the September 2013 siege of the Westgate Mall in Kenya had also crossed the border from Somalia, he said, noting that land and sea frontiers are often overlooked in favour of airport security.
International travel is predicted to exceed 1.5 billion passengers per year by 2017, presenting a significant challenge to border checkpoints.
By Kristen Han
[This story has been edited from the source material.]