Voluntary Reporting System on Migrant Smuggling and Related Conduct (VRS-MSRC)
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."
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:
- Quantitative assessment of flows
- Major routes used
- Fees paid
- Means of transport & methods used
- Profiles of irregular & smuggled migrants
- Profiles of migrant smugglers
Tool for State Authorities
The VRS-MSRC securely provides participating states with up-to-date information at the click of a button.
Based upon the principle of mutual information sharing, only states that provide data will have access to the information provided by other states.
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 2012.
The VRS-MSRC system is:
- Flexible enough to deal with different national data collection systems and still allows for meaningful analysis.
- Able to collate contextual information for the interpretation of data.
Pilot Phase & 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.
Participants shared their feedback:
"It's unique, and it bridges a gap that significantly hampers my analytical work - the lack of information about migrant smuggling in the region, and the possible risks for my country," said Ms. Susan Egan, Immigration New Zealand.
Another participant commented:
"It provides an effective, national platform for centralizing relevant information. This helps us to analyze better the current situation and strengthen our response to migrant smuggling," said Mr. Ibrahim Ashraf, Immigration and Emigration Maldives.
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 the 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.
Official VRS-MSRC launch mid 2013!
For more information, contact:
UNODC VRS-MSRC TEAM at email@example.com
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific
UN Secretariat Building,
Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200
The VRS-MSRC has been developed with the support of the Government of Australia.