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Viet Nam gets IT equipment to fight smuggling of migrants

Hanoi (Viet Nam), 17 June 2013
- International labor migration is a longstanding practice for Southeast Asian populations. The majority of migrants in the region use legal channels. However, the distances, language barriers and legal delays associated with migration have contributed to an increase in migrant smuggling from Viet Nam.

Each year, about 18,000 Vietnamese irregular migrants are smuggled to European Union (EU) countries, generating approximately US 300 million a year for smugglers, according to estimates in the UNODC report, Transnational Organized Crime in East Asia and the Pacific - A Threat Assessment.

In response to this, UNODC has assisted Viet Nam address migrant smuggling through a number of regional and national projects, including the project, Strengthening immigration control capacity to prevent and control migrant smuggling and human trafficking.

The project aims to assist Viet Nam's frontline immigration control authorities at both land and sea borders by training officers and improving border control procedures. Financed and supported by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), the United Kingdom, and One UN, the project also assists Viet Nam to develop a legal framework for migrant smuggling.

As part of the project, UNODC recently handed over IT equipment for field training and immigration control to Viet Nam's Immigration Department, Ministry of Public Security (MPSI), Border Gates Department, and the Border Guard Command (BGD).

Attendees to the handover ceremony included national officials, and representatives of UNODC and the Embassy of Australia in Viet Nam. Sr. Col. Nguyen Xuan Long, Deputy Director, Immigration Department, expressed his appreciation to UNODC and project donors for their support in combating irregular migration.

"This on-going cooperation helped increase the skills of immigration and border control officers to detect suspicious activities and investigate illegal movements of people," said Sr. Col. Long. "We hope UNODC and donors continue to assist MPSI and other relevant national authorities involved in immigration and border control work in Viet Nam."

Mr. Paul Hollis, First Secretary, Principal Migration Officer of the Australian Embassy in Hanoi, emphasized the importance of on-going support and noted that the IT equipment should help national authorities better access and share information on the smuggling of migrants.

Ms. Zhuldyz Akisheva, UNODC Country Manager in Viet Nam, agreed that the IT equipment will aid national authorities to effectively deal with the growing threat.

"I thank all donors of the project, in particular DIAC, for their generous support," said Ms. Akisheva. "This equipment, and the extensive training provided to frontline officers, will help national authorities better address migrant smuggling."