With UNODC support, Mexico launches nation-wide programme to tackle migrant smuggling

With UNODC support, a far-reaching new initiative to dismantle the criminal networks behind migrant smuggling and to protect migrants from being smuggled known as SOMMEX (' Smuggling of Migrants - Mexico') was launched today at the Attorney General's Office headquarters in Mexico City. Photo: UNODC

31 August 2016 - A far-reaching new initiative to dismantle the criminal networks behind migrant smuggling and to protect migrants from being smuggled, known as SOMMEX ('Smuggling of Migrants - Mexico'), was launched today at the Attorney General's Office headquarters in Mexico City. Through this programme, UNODC will assist the Government of Mexico to respond more efficiently to the challenges posed by migrant smuggling along the three main migratory routes to the United States.

The three-year, multi-sectorial initiative, which has received support from the Government of the United States, includes a new training methodology already in place: trainees are provided with IT tools to interact in real time with the facilitators and are faced with real case scenarios where actors play roles such as traffickers, migrants and law enforcement officials. The use of the Mexican Red Cross Training Center makes the trainings more realistic thanks to the different options for enacting police arrests, searches and humanitarian rescues. Participants' performance is evaluated in real time throughout the length of the programme.

Speaking at the programme's launch, UNODC representative in Mexico, Antonio Mazzitelli, said that this project is the successful consolidation of a number of initiatives which UNODC has been developing in partnership with the Government of Mexico since 2012, such as the International Conference on Migrant Smuggling by Land, Sea and Air (2012) and the migrant smuggling #NegocioMortal campaign (2015).

The United States Ambassador to Mexico, Roberta S. Jacobson, added that the "US Government is pleased to join forces with UNODC to support Mexico to deter smugglers from perpetrating this crime". For her part, the Mexican Attorney General, Arely Gómez González, officially launched the programme while noting that it is the first of its kind as it addresses all angles of migrant smuggling, not only covering the legislative and criminal justice responses but also the communication and humanitarian aspects related to this human tragedy.

Furthermore, an information campaign for front line responders at the state and municipality levels is being developed within the scope of SOMMEX, in addition to the establishment of inter-institutional networks between the Mexican federation and civil society organizations in order to detect and respond to the needs of migrants in transit. The project will carry out activities in 21 Mexican states and various US cities including Atlanta, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

Further information:

Request for further information on the SOMMEX initiative

#NegocioMortal Campaign on Smuggling of Migrants

UNODC in Mexico

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