On April 4-8 in Accra, Ghana, UNODC organised its first-ever specialized capacity building workshop focusing on migrant smuggling by air and document fraud, hosted by the Government of Ghana, with the participation of experts from INTERPOL and the Ghana Immigration Service. The workshop, funded by the US Department of State, was implemented under UNODC's Global Programme against the Smuggling of Migrants and the Global Scientific and Forensic Services Programme with the aim to support participating States implement the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air supplementing the United Nations Convention against Organized Transnational Crime.
Participants came from four African states, namely Ghana, South Africa, the Gambia, and Ethiopia. They were largely drawn from frontline law enforcement, including immigration staff, forensic document examiners, and criminal justice practitioners. The overall objective of the workshop was to empower participants to detect fraudulent documents used for the purpose of migrant smuggling and, subsequently, to facilitate successful investigations into the involvement of organized crime in such activities.
Specifically, the five-day workshop aimed to build the capacity of frontline officers; to detect document fraud at airports - including highly sophisticated types of fraud; to refer cases to the appropriate services in order to investigate the potential involvement of organized crime networks; and to build the capacity of criminal justice practitioners to handle these cases successfully.
The workshop allowed participants to get a hands-on experience of the issue, being able to practice with genuine and fraudulent examples of documents alongside specialised forgery-detection tools, such as magnifiers and UV light equipment. Particularly important was the opportunity for participants to share their experiences and exchange good practices.
Participants also benefitted from a visit to the Ghanaian Document Examination Centre - a facility hosting a central database of all types of travel and source documents, whether genuine or fraudulent.
The project will be complemented by an online training programme based on UNODC's e-Learning tools.
For more information please contact:
Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section: htmss AT unodc DOT org
UNODC Laboratory and Scientific Section: lab AT unodc DOT org