Voluntary Reporting System on Migrant Smuggling and Related Conduct (VRS-MSRC)

Official VRS-MSRC launch in July 2013

The UNODC Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific launched the Voluntary Reporting System on Migrant Smuggling and Related Conduct (VRS-MSRC) in support of the Bali Process on Tuesday, 16 July 2013.

The VRS-MSRC is a tool for state authorities. It securely provides up-to-date information at the click of a button. Authorities from 19 states and territories have confirmed their VRS-MSRC participation to date.

Participating states now have an online mechanism to collect and share information so they can identify trends and develop policies to prevent and combat migrant smuggling.

Based upon the principle of mutual information sharing, only states that provide data have access to the information provided by other states.

What is the VRS-MSRC?

  • The VRS-MSRC is an internet-based, secure IT solution to collect, share and analyze information on migrant smuggling, irregular migration and other related conduct.
  • Serving the purpose of creating strategic knowledge to inform evidence-based policy formulation at national and regional levels, the VRS-MSRC collects data on:

o Quantitative assessment of flows
o Major routes used
o Fees paid
o Means of transport & methods used
o Profiles of irregular & smuggled migrants
o Profiles of migrant smugglers

In Support of the Bali Process

At the 4th Bali Process Ministerial Conference in March 2011:
"Ministers agreed to strengthen engagement on information and intelligence sharing, underscoring the high value and utility that would derive from enhanced information sharing. In this regard, Ministers welcomed assistance from UNODC in establishing a voluntary reporting system on migrant smuggling and related conduct in support of the Bali Process."

At the 5th Bali Process Ministerial Conference in April 2013:
"Ministers also encouraged members to participate in the Voluntary Reporting System on Migrant Smuggling and Related Conduct developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to strengthen its value as an information database to enhance and better inform policy development in response to migrant smuggling."

Benefits of the VRS-MSRC

  • Addresses challenges and obstacles to information sharing across borders and among agencies - The VRS-MSRC will allow authorities to exchange information on migrant smugglers, their routes, their modus operandi and the fees paid.
  • Creates a national platform for states to centralize data - With most, if not all states, relevant data is dispersed among different national authorities. The VRS-MSRC creates an effective platform for sharing information among national entities involved in combating migrant smuggling.
  • Cultivates a mutually beneficial relationship among states - Sharing data through the VRS-MSRC will create mutually beneficial relationships, creating greater trust and cooperation among state authorities.
  • Raises awareness and mobilizes political will among states - The VRS-MSRC brings visibility to the issues of irregular migration and migrant smuggling and can help mobilize political will among decision-makers by providing reliable data for future action.
  • Builds evidence-based knowledge to inform policies and operational measures - The VRS-MSRC is designed to build strategic, evidence-based knowledge on irregular migration and migrant smuggling to enable states to strengthen immigration policies, immigration and border control systems, and counter-smuggling measures. It can also help optimize the allocation of resources.
  • Fulfills Convention and Protocol obligations - Under the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementing Smuggling of Migrants Protocol, State Parties are required to collect, exchange, and analyze information on organized crime and migrant smuggling, and to monitor policies and assess their effectiveness. The VRS-MSRC will help states fulfill these responsibilities.

Development of the VRS-MSRC

The VRS-MSRC was developed in close cooperation with law enforcement authorities from Asia, the Pacific, Europe and North America as well as representatives from international law enforcement organizations through a series of consultations from 2010 to 2013.

The VRS-MSRC system is:

  • Flexible enough to deal with different national data collection systems and still allows for meaningful analysis.
  • User-friendly.
  • Able to collate contextual information for the interpretation of data.

Pilot Phase and Validation Workshop

A pilot phase was conducted in October 2012. France, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji and the United States of America participated. The Pacific Immigration Directors' Conference (PIDC) Secretariat supported the pilot phase.

The pilot phase concluded with a validation workshop in November 2012. Representatives from the 12 pilot countries as well as the PIDC convened in Bangkok to share their experiences with the VRS-MSRC.

First VRS-MSRC Stakeholder Workshop

The first Stakeholder Workshop in September 2013 was attended by VRS-MSRC Focal Points and/or their alternates.

Participants were familiarized with the VRS-MSRC database and received technical training for data entry.

The VRS-MRSC Terms of Engagement (ToE) and governance structure was discussed and clarified.

Participants emphazised their commitment to making the VRS-MSRC a success, and to prove that it was a worthwhile effort to share information on irregular migration and migrant smuggling through a common database.

 

Searching the VRS-MSRC Database

The VRS-MSRC search platform allows participating states to access multi-country data and to select report options to display and compare country specific information on migrant smuggling.  
The VRS-MSRC database currently offers a total of 13 search categories. Within each of these search options there are subcategories available to narrow down the search outputs for in-depth analysis.

By using search categories, VRS-MSRC users can identify, for example, the main routes used by migrants from a specific country of origin attempting to enter a destination country by traveling through specific transit countries.

The search platform provides easy access for users to identify migrant smuggling trends and patterns. It is an important tool for migrant smuggling  policy development and for enhancing cooperation among states.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, please download the leaflet here or contact:

UNODC VRS-MSRC TEAM at vrs@unodc.org
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific
UN Secretariat Building,
Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200
www.unodc.org/southeastasiaandpacific/
Email: vrs@unodc.org

The VRS-MSRC is supported by the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection.