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Countering migrant smuggling in South-East Asia

Hanoi (Viet Nam), 30 May 2011
- From 10 to 12 May 2011, a Computer-Based Training (CBT) Needs Analysis Workshop on Smuggling of Migrants was conducted in Hanoi, Viet Nam. The workshop was held in order to gather valuable insights into the migrants smuggling situation in South-East Asia and consequently, identify the training needs for law enforcement officers. The findings of the workshop will support the development of a specific CBT course on the smuggling of migrants, aimed at building the capacity of law enforcement officers in combating the growing challenge of migrant smuggling from, within and through the region.

Migrant smuggling is a high profit and low risk crime. Fact is, that criminals who organize and profit from it, face little risk of detection and punishment. Aside from undermining state sovereignty, migrant smugglers frequently expose smuggled migrants to serious risks during their journey. In addition, smuggled migrants become vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and human trafficking during the smuggling process or as a result of it.

The three-day workshop was attended by government representatives and UNODC experts. Representatives from immigration departments and other law enforcement officials were invited from 8 countries in the region, namely Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. The high level of participation in the workshop by country representatives and experts helped identify relevant training content needing to be developed. Content that now meets the needs of targeted law enforcement, immigration and border control officials.

The soon to be developed CBT course on smuggling of migrantsĀ  will include modules on: raising awareness on migrants smuggling; investigative content such as the planning of migrant smuggling investigations, identifying the role and process of smuggled migrants and migrant smugglers in investigations; special and financial investigation techniques, intelligence gathering and international cooperation.

Commenting on the workshop, Pol. Lt. Col. Hoang Anh Tuyen, Deputy Director of Standing Office on Drugs and Crime in Viet Nam said that: "Smuggling of migrants is an issue of concern to many countries in the region. The lack of capacity and resources on behalf of the relevant authorities means that the crime of migrant smuggling has yet to be effectively stopped. The workshop is excellent to help identify the areas of need and to support competent authorities to be more effective."

UNODC CBT Centralized Unit based in the Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand has managed UNODC CBT implementations in over 52 countries and has over 300 training centres worldwide.