Prevent migrant smuggling to reduce human trafficking

Bali (Indonesia), 12 November 2012
- Today, the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Organized Crime celebrated its 10 years of existence at the Tenth Anniversary Commemorative Conference that took place in Bali.

Covering 46 countries in Asia and the Pacific, the Bali Process is a unique forum bringing states together in response to human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Speaking at the inaugural session, Gary Lewis, UNODC Regional Representative for East Asia and the Pacific, called on Bali Process members to "end impunity and put the criminals out of business."

In his scene-setting speech Mr. Lewis focused on human trafficking in Southeast Asia - specifically the Greater Mekong Sub-region - and the challenges posed by the related crimes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Mr. Lewis noted that "migrant smuggling has become a major driver in the process of irregular migration. As such, it makes people vulnerable to human trafficking. But the flip side is this, if you prevent migrant smuggling you can contribute to preventing human trafficking."

Mr. Lewis concluded with nine practical recommendations to tackle human trafficking and migrant smuggling in the region.

With respect to human trafficking and migrant smuggling, UNODC's mandate is to promote global adherence to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling and human trafficking, and to assist states in implementing these instruments. UNODC is already engaged with many countries in the regions covered by the Bali Process and is providing practical support to the development of intelligence-led policing practices, specialist investigative skills, and victim-centered approaches to combating human trafficking.

For example, in Southeast Asia, UNODC's PATROL Project facilitates cross border law enforcement cooperation through Border Liasion Offices and providing hands-on training to the border guards, police and immigration officers posted to equip them with knowledge and skills to better detect and respond to human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Another example of UNODC's work is the Voluntary Reporting System on Migrant Smuggling and Related Conduct (VRS-MSRC) in support of the Bali Process. The VRS-MSRC is an internet-based, secure system to collect, share and analyse data on irregular migration and migrant smuggling.