UNODC and ISISC Trans-regional Training Workshop on Preventing and Combating the Smuggling of Migrants by Sea affecting the Mediterranean Region

UNODC has made notable efforts to support countries around the world in combating transnational organized crime and the smuggling of migrants in particular. It continues to build the capacity of criminal justice practitioners by providing trainings aimed at bringing together the countries of origin, transit and destination to take stock of current challenges, exchange good practices and come up with follow-up actions to dismantle transnational smuggling networks.

One of such trainings, entitled "Trans-regional Training Workshop on Preventing and Combating the Smuggling of Migrants by Sea affecting the Mediterranean Region", was held by UNODC and the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences (ISISC) from 14 to 16 October 2015 in Syracuse, Italy.

The activity was unique in the way that it was jointly organized by two Global UNODC Programmes (Global Programme against the Smuggling of Migrants and Global Maritime Crime Programme); it involved participants from four regions, that is three regions covered by regional UNODC offices plus the European Union, and saw the presence of two UNODC Field Representatives. Among other experts, resource persons included representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM),  European Union Military Operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED), FRONTEX, Save the Children and the Norwegian Shipowners´ Association. The event was organized with the financial support of the Government of Italy and the European Union.

The three-day in-depth training was delivered in English, Arabic and French to 20 front line officers, criminal justice practitioners and policy makers from Egypt, Eritrea, Lebanon, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia and Turkey. Apart from experts presentations on such topics as the trends and patterns of migratory flows, the main issues arising around exercising jurisdiction on the high seas, methods and techniques to detect, investigate and prosecute migrant smuggling, and protection and assistance issues, the training was enriched with group work, plenary discussions, case studies, exercises and presentations from participants.

Thanks to the overall level and diversity of expertise and the active engagement of participants who shared insights, experiences and views, the workshop was very successful. Participants acknowledged their change in perception of the crime of smuggling of migrants; in particular they highlighted the urgent need to balance the authoritarian response with humanitarian imperatives as the fight against criminal networks and the protection of the rights of migrants are two sides of the same coin. They also showed a strong interest for long term responses that include development programmes to address root causes of migration.

The workshop falls under the UNODC´s series of regional workshops on smuggling of migrants by sea. The first regional workshop for the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico was held in Panama in March 2015.

Click here to view the report:  English, French, Arabic.

For further information please contact:

Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, htmss AT unodc DOT org