UNODC launches global database of migrant smuggling cases

More than a decade has passed since the adoption of the Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, yet in most countries, evidence of prosecution and conviction of profit seeking smugglers remains limited.

States address migrant smuggling through their national legislation in various ways, often conflating this crime with the facilitation of illegal entry, and less regularly addressing  it as a form of transnational organized crime. The prosecution of migrant smuggling cases remains little documented at the international level. This often leaves open questions as to how practitioners use their domestic laws to tackle migrant smuggling and what, if any, the characteristics of successful prosecutions are.

In a bid to answer these questions, UNODC has  launched the Smuggling of Migrants  Knowledge Portal aimed at improving the knowledge-base on global prosecution practices and anti-migrant smuggling legislation.  

A key aim of the portal is to promote the sharing of knowledge on the criminal justice response to migrant smuggling by collecting and disseminating information and analysis on the characteristics and prosecution of this crime-type, the use of related domestic offences and the effective implementation of the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol. It is expected that this endeavour will assist in establishing a common understanding of this form of transnational organized crime in order to better addressing its complex aspects and eventually in increasing the number of prosecutions of high level organizers and the dismantling of criminal networks in a manner that matches the prevalence of this crime.

In addition to broadening the knowledge of the crime of migrant smuggling, information from cases contained in the portal will be referred to by UNODC for technical assistance and policy work aimed at assisting States in bringing their legislation in line with the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol and developing effective criminal justice responses to combatting migrant smuggling. Member States and practitioners are therefore encouraged to share with UNODC relevant cases and/or relevant legislation to be uploaded to these knowledge portal.

The new Smuggling of Migrants Knowledge Portal is available online