Intelligence is key to fighting migrant smuggling: UNODC provides analysis training for law enforcers in Asia

Bangkok (Thailand), 21 February 2012 - Migrant smuggling is an organized criminal activity that operates across borders. It threatens countries' security, makes smuggled migrants vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking, and generates enormous profits for the criminals involved, who face little risk of detection and punishment. Migrant smuggling networks are highly networked, professional and flexible, constantly changing routes and methods in response to law enforcement measures.

To assist government efforts to craft an effective, coordinated response, the UNODC Regional Training Programme on Operational and Strategic Analysis on Migrant Smuggling held a first round of workshops that brought to Thailand 54 law enforcement and immigration personnel from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam and the Pacific Immigration Directors' Conference (PIDC) for training in operational and strategic analysis of migrant smuggling.

Following the successful conclusion of these training courses in Bangkok and Thailand, the Regional Training Programme will begin to deliver them at a country level in South-East Asia in 2012.

Intelligence-sharing and cross-border cooperation are critical in crafting an effective law enforcement response to migrant smuggling, participants were told.

"Knowledge and networks! These are the two key factors that have to underpin any effective counter-action in response to migrant smuggling," Mr. Gary Lewis, Regional Representative UNODC Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific, told attendees. "Migrant smuggling is a criminal business motivated by profits. And we need to join forces to better respond to it."

The UNODC Regional Training Programme on Operational and Strategic Analysis on Migrant Smuggling offers to law enforcement officers and senior management across East Asia and the Pacific three training courses to strengthen management, operational and strategic capacity to counter the smuggling of people.

Regional Training Program courses are designed for a range of law enforcement management, operational and strategic levels.

The 10-day Operational Analysis in Support of Migrant Smuggling Investigations, recently concluded in Bangkok, teaches investigators how to generate and use intelligence to effectively support all phases of migrant smuggling investigations.

First held in mid-December 2011 in Bangkok, the five-day Strategic Analysis on Migrant Smuggling, trains participants how to carry out a strategic analysis of a country's smuggling situation to identify overall people smuggling trends, risk and threats, and then to use those inputs for migrant smuggling policy development and operational counter-measures.

The two-day Workshop for Senior Management on Operational and Strategic Analysis on Migrant Smuggling - originally held in Pattaya, Thailand, in November 2011 - trains senior law enforcement in the purposes and benefits of migrant smuggling intelligence analysis, and teaches them how to strengthen their management of intelligence analysis to more effectively counter migrant smuggling.

In South-East Asia, other UNODC training activities to strengthen law enforcement capacities to prevent, detect, investigate migrant smuggling and bring perpetrators to justice include: The UNODC PATROL project, which aims to strengthen border control and cross-border law enforcement cooperation, and to train frontline officers on migrant smuggling, and the UNODC Global Computer-Based Training (CBT) Programme, which creates e-learning modules on migrant smuggling to train South-East Asia police and border control officers.