UNODC launches migrant smuggling data sharing system for state authorities
24 July 2013 -The UNODC Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific recently launched the Voluntary Reporting System on Migrant Smuggling and Related Conduct (VRS-MSRC) - an internet-based, secure system where state authorities can collect and share migrant smuggling data. The system is in support of the Bali Process, an inter-governmental dialogue on migrant smuggling and human trafficking covering mainly Asia and the Pacific.
Designed to inform strategic analysis and policy development at inter-regional, regional, and national levels, the VRS-MSRC seeks to establish non-nominal quantitative and qualitative data on migrant smuggling and irregular migration. Key data include: size and geographical directions of flows; major routes used; fees paid; transportation and methods used; profiles of irregular and smuggled migrants; and migrant smuggler profiles.
The system was developed by UNODC in close cooperation with law enforcement authorities from countries in Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America in response to the 4th Bali Process Ministerial Conference in March 2011.
Under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementing Smuggling of Migrants Protocol, States are required to collect, exchange, and analyze information on migrant smuggling, and to monitor policies and assess their effectiveness.
The VRS-MSRC helps states fulfill these responsibilities. It helps members identify trends and develop policies so they can prevent and combat migrant smuggling. It includes an online search mechanism so members can identify emerging patterns in other countries and facilitate targeted cooperation with members experiencing similar trends.
To date, authorities from 16 states and territories have confirmed their participation, including: Australia, Cambodia, France, Hong Kong (SAR), Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Maldives, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norfolk Islands, Pakistan, the Solomon Islands, Thailand, Turkey and the United States of America.
Forging sustainable solutions in response to migrant smuggling is a tremendous challenge. One-sided interventions simply run the risk of compounding or displacing the problem.
"Migrant smuggling is transnational in nature; curbing it requires truly multilateral action," says Mr. Sebastian Baumeister, UNODC Expert and Analyst on Migrant Smuggling based in Bangkok. "Cooperation among all countries concerned and comprehensive approaches are crucial. Building evidence-based knowledge on migrant smuggling and exchanging information between states creates trust and cooperation among nations and leads to the effective application of consistent policies."