GLO.ACT-Bangladesh holds policy think thank on migrant smuggling

Dhaka, Bangladesh, 09 July 2020 – Following its online national consultation  in June 2020 to address Bangladesh’s criminal justice response to Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) in times of COVID-19 and beyond, UNODC, under the framework of GLO.ACT-Bangladesh, organized an online think tank policy session on migrant smuggling for over 45 (15 female and 30 male)  participants on 9 July 2020. The online think tank session allowed GLO.ACT-Bangladesh to collect further inputs and feedback that will support the development of a strategic position paper for policy considerations.

In line with GLO.ACT’s multisectoral, multidisciplinary and integrated efforts, and to keep the momentum going, the think tank session included relevant expert presentations and six-breakout session on a variety of thematic issues ranging from criminalization as per the UN Protocol against Smuggling of Migrants by land, sea and air to looking at strengthening criminal justice measures and the demand side of smuggling of migrants.

Eurídice Márquez, GLO.ACT Programme Management Officer and moderator of the event, provided the initial welcoming remarks, following which Mahdy Hassan, UNODC National Project Coordinator  and Mohammad Shakil Mansoor, IOM National Programme Officer delivered messages on behalf of GLO-ACT-Bangladesh, briefly outlining the status quo of the project in the country and encouraging participants to actively contribute inputs for the development of the strategic position paper.

Considering that during previous consultations participants advocated for the ratification of the UN Protocol against Smuggling of Migrants by land, sea and air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), Samantha Munodawafa, GLO.ACT Policy Lead, delivered an expert presentation on the benefits of ratification, highlighting how this would encourage a more effective national response to combatting SOM. She explained that the fact that so many countries around the world have ratified the UNTOC and the Protocols thereto in effect means that, “The world speaks the same language, it allows for cooperation and show consensus.”

Representatives from Interpol’s General Secretariat as well as Interpol Specialized Operational Network (ISON) focal points delivered the second expert presentation focusing on the lesson learnt and results from Operation Turquesa and, more specifically, Bangladesh’s experience in Operation Turquesa. During Operation Turquesa in October 2019, authorities in 19 countries across three continents acted on leads and carried out nearly one million checks at air, land and sea borders in order to disrupt the organized crime groups and the networks of traffickers and smugglers behind key smuggling routes to the USA and Canada. A major outcome of Operation Turquesa was the arrest of a 32-year old man from Bangladesh believed to be behind one of the largest migrant smuggling networks into the United States.

The main session progressed smoothly from the expert presentations to six thematic breakout rooms, in which participants collectively analyzed some of the policy considerations put forward. Each breakout group had an individual moderator who guided their group through their allocated thematic questions. On returning to the open session, the groups shared their findings with all participants and Ms. Márquez and Ms. Munodawafa concluded online think thank by thanking participants for their active engagement and enriching discussion. Ms. Márquez also outlined the next steps, which include the drafting of the strategic position paper for policy considerations that will be shared, in due course, with all the participants.

The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants - Bangladesh (GLO.ACT - Bangladesh) is a joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). GLO.ACT-Bangladesh builds on a global community of practice set in motion in GLO.ACT 2015-2019 in 13 partner countries across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. 

Through targeted, innovative and demand-driven interventions, the GLO.ACT aims to support the Government of Bangladesh and civil society organizations to more effectively fight the crimes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling across the country. The project works on developing evidence-based information on trafficking and smuggling patterns and trends, legislative review and harmonization, capability development of criminal justice actors, and international cooperation. The project also provides direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and migrants in vulnerable situations through the strengthening of identification, referral, and protection mechanisms.

The project is funded by the European Union.


To read more about the previous online event click here


For more information, please contact:

Mahdy Hassan:

GLO.ACT Bangladesh

Twitter: @glo_act