DNA 4 Africa is a non-profit, multipurpose organization to help Africa maximize the potential of forensic DNA. Joining with other non-profits organizations, governments and private sector partners, DNA4Africa will advocate for the broader use of DNA to protect victims from the genocidal violence, government sponsored rape and other atrocities so prevalent on that continent. It will educate governments about the benefits of DNA as well as about the internationally recognized standards – both technical and legal – to ensure the proper and safe use of DNA and DNA databases. It will develop educational programs on the identification preservation and collection of DNA evidence for aid workers, health care workers, police and others “on the ground” in areas of conflict. Finally, DNA 4 Africa will work with charitable foundations, government agencies and private enterprises to raise funds to pay for forensic DNA testing when opportunities arise.
Success in bringing the advantages of DNA technology to Africa does not depend on the initial development of sophisticated laboratory infrastructures. Throughout the world public, university and private laboratories exist and are capable of analyzing outsourced DNA samples. The analysis capacity and infrastructure need not be in country. That infrastructure can be an appropriate long term goal. But, to begin the process of proving the power of DNA and to begin the work of protecting victims and prosecuting offenders, DNA samples from Africa can be handled the way they are in many countries throughout the world. Every day police agencies from California collect, package and send DNA samples safely and securely through commercial carriers to the other side of the country to companies like Bode Technologies and Orchid Cellmark. The University of North Texas receives samples from all over the world when individual country laboratories have neither the capacity nor expertise to perform the work. So too can samples from Africa be collected, transported and analyzed outside of Africa – but for the benefit of Africa’s victims.
Chris Asplen, Esq.
Founder and Director, DNA 4 Africa
Mr. Chris Asplen is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and local prosecutor specializing in the prosecution of sex crime and child abuse. He was also formerly the Executive Director of the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence for the U.S. Department of Justice and Director of the DNA Unit for the National District Attorneys Association. Currently, he consults with local, state, and foreign governments and law enforcement agencies on the use of forensic DNA technology. Chris is also a member of the Crime Victim Bar Association.
His background also includes:
- The US Attorney General’s Award for Contributions to Public Safety – for work in DNA.
- Advisor to the US Attorney General on forensic DNA technology.
- Director of the DNA Unit for the National District Attorney’s Association.
- Chief Faculty member for the President’s Initiative on DNA training of Officers of the Court.
- DOJ representative to the White House Initiative on Law Enforcement Technology
- Six years as a Prosecutor specializing in the prosecution of sex crimes and child abuse.
Since leaving the Department of Justice in 2002, Mr. Asplen has worked in over 30 countries to maximize the potential of DNA evidence and technology.
- His firm is currently developing the DNA Database World Map Project, an internet based resource for DNA database information globally.
- He has authored The DNA Database Survey for the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) which outlines the current state of DNA Database legislation for ENFIS Members.
- He has testified before Parliament in The Philippines and consulted with the governments of South Africa, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico and South Korea.
- He has trained police in China, Italy and many other countries.
Mr. Asplen has appeared as an expert on national and international DNA matters on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, CBS News, 60 Minutes, NPR and has been quoted in the New York Times, the Economist, Time, Newsweek, USATODAY and many more.