Illicit Trafficking and Smuggling


Our commitment

UNODC will work with Governments to strengthen their legal and technical capacities to prevent and stop the trafficking of people, drugs, natural resources and smuggling of migrants. The value which UNODC adds will be to assist governments to bring the collective resources of state authorities together in order to be more effective both at combating illicit trafficking and organized crime. At a national level the programme will seek to assist governments in developing an integrated approach to fight illicit trafficking and organized crime, and overcome the current fragmentation and at times uncoordinated agency responses to this challenge.
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Our main achievements in 2012

  • The establishment of four new Border Liaison Offices (BLOs) was completed. The establishment or refurbishment of an additional 15 BLOs between Cambodia, Thailand and Viet Nam was started and the handover of equipment is expected to take place in early 2013.
  • Myanmar and UNODC signed an official agreement to commence collaborative PATROL activities in 2013, adding to agreements with Cambodia, Thailand and Viet Nam.
  • Standard Operating Procedures for cross border cooperation against transnational organised crime were discussed and agreed upon by BLOs in Cambodia and Viet Nam under the guidance of PATROL.
  • Standard Operating Procedures for investigations of trafficking in persons were developed for the Philippines National Police, and feasibility studies were completed in Viet Nam and Cambodia to assess the viability of National Referral Mechanisms for the identification of victims of trafficking. Measures were developed to improve informal "police to police" cooperation between anti trafficking units in Thailand and Cambodia, and this activity will continue and expand in 2013.
  • UNODC increased its efforts to combat the smuggling of migrants by sea - a hugely profitable and very deadly criminal activity - by working with the law enforcement agencies of Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand to create Port Intelligence Units with a specific focus on tackling this type of crime. These units will be fully operational in early 2013.
  • In preparation for the launch of the Voluntary Reporting System on Migrant Smuggling and Related Conduct (VRS-MSRC) in 2013, Australia, Cambodia, France, Fiji, Indonesia, Maldives, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tonga, UK, and the USA as well as the Pacific Immigration Directors' Conference (PIDC) participated in a test run of the VRS-MSRC.
  • A report and accompanying Annotated Bibliography entitled "Migrant Smuggling in Asia: A Thematic Review of Literature" were published, providing a systematic review of the available empirical knowledge on the smuggling of migrants.
  • Two-day, five-day and ten-day training courses were delivered at the regional and national levels to immigration and police officers from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.  The trainings were conducted as part of the Regional Training Programme on Operational and Strategic Analysis on Migrant Smuggling.
  • Further comparative regional data on ATS and other drugs was collected through the SMART programme. The programme continues to produce valuable information for various stakeholders in the region.  This increases understanding of the ATS problem and supports the design of effective evidence-based policies. The 4th annual SMART report, produced in December 2012, highlighted new developments, patterns and trends relating to illicit drugs and specifically ATS, and explains them with reference to the trafficking, manufacture, use and treatment situation in East and Southeast Asia. There is clear evidence to demonstrate that the information generated by SMART is being used in the region to inform policy making.
  • The previous Global Computer Based Training (CBT) Programme has evolved into a wider Global eLearning Programme during this reporting period with the production of an additional 30 modules in a Shareable Content format. The UNODC HQ-based Information Technology Service has supported the Programme with the design and development of a UNODC Learning Management System - known as goLEARN - which will provide the platform for the multimedia modules and a range of other associated training materials.
  • Project Childhood (Protection Pillar) began implementation of activities in January 2012 and is showing promising results.  The analysis of legal frameworks in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam was completed. UNODC recommendations for legal reform were accepted and deemed to be clear and practical in each country context. A Police Training Programme for Investigating Sexual Exploitation of Children has been developed for Specialist Investigation and Frontline Officers.  The Regional Project Childhood Coordinating Committee was established in July 2012 and has been operating effectively, establishing strategy for project work in 2013.  A Regional Law Enforcement Cooperation Group was established in October 2012, with a key priority of establishing a Legal Research Group in 2013.

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Our main achievements in 2011

  • Four new Border Liaison Offices (BLOs) were established on the border between Cambodia and Viet Nam, with an expanded mandate to deal with all forms of cross-border trafficking and smuggling (not just drugs). Twelve other existing BLOs have been identified for mandate expansion, in the same two countries, beyond their current focus on drug control.
  • Multi-agency national committees were established in Cambodia and Viet Nam to oversee the work of the new-style BLOs, demonstrating national commitment to improving cooperation between agencies dealing with different types of cross-border crime (including drugs, smuggling of people, natural resources and hazardous goods).
  • Collection and sharing of regional data concerning production, smuggling, and use of Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) and other drugs through the SMART programme continues to improve year after year. There is clear evidence to show that the data is being used in the region to help inform policy making.
  • New Global e-Learning products (also known as Computer Based Training) were developed. New training modules for Smuggling of Migrants, Trafficking in Persons, Wildlife Crime and Human Rights are now in production.
  • Access to information on migrant smuggling in the region (in support of the Bali Process) continues to improve with UNODC support. Research papers have been produced and steady progress is being made towards establishing a regional voluntary reporting system on migrant smuggling.
  • In Indonesia, capacities of stakeholder institutions, NGOs and communities have been strengthened in Papua Province to help combat illegal logging and the illicit trade in forest products.
  • Background research on child-sex tourism in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam has been largely completed, in preparation for the implementation of 'Project Childhood' in collaboration with INTERPOL. This has included legislative review/gap analysis, institutional profiling and a review of current training programmes for law enforcement officials on combatting child-sex tourism.
  • The need for improved national mechanisms and enhanced cross-border cooperation to support victims of human trafficking has been effectively advocated, based on preliminary research and dialogue with senior government officials in Cambodia and Thailand.

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Our main achievements in 2010

  • Enhanced border security in the Greater-Mekong Subregion, with some significant drug seizures and arrests directly attributed to the operations of Border Liaison Offices (BLOs) which have been established with UNODC support.
  • Identification of key trafficking/smuggling concerns and 'hot spots' (including with respect to drugs, people and natural resources) through surveys of BLO officers in Cambodia, Viet Nam and Thailand.
  • Improved availability of comparative regional data on ATS and other drugs through the SMART programme surveys.
  • Enhanced capacities of front-line law enforcement officers through training, especially computer-based training.
  • In the area of human trafficking, migrant smuggling and tackling environmental crimes (namely timber and wildlife trafficking), UNODC has established important new partnerships in 2010 and initiated implementation of new initiatives that are anticipated to deliver results in 2011.

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Our main achievements in 2009

  • Improved border security through the establishment of 14 more Border Liaison Offices in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region. These BLOs have, in turn, contributed to the seizure of significant quantities of drugs (including precursor chemicals) and the arrest of drug traffickers.
  • Improved availability of strategic information on drug production and trafficking trends, particularly with respect to synthetic drugs.
  • More informed and capable front line law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges (including those equipped through the re-energized Computer-Based Training programme).
  • Development of significant new regional initiatives to address a range of illicit trafficking/smuggling crimes, including those dealing with smuggling of migrants and trafficking in natural resources.

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