UNODC hosts Police Intelligence Training Course to Combat Migrant Smuggling

Bangkok (Thailand), 31 January 2013 - Migrant smuggling is a complex issue that funds criminal organizations, threatens the security of nations and can lead to, or create, situations of abuse, exploitation and human trafficking. Training law enforcement to gather, share and effectively disseminate migrant smuggling intelligence is critical in developing a coordinated regional response to this complex problem.

To that end, UNODC trained 25 immigration officers from Thailand and Cambodia with practical border control and immigration crime experience in operational analysis to support migrant smuggling investigations.

Held in Bangkok 7-18 January, the course was part of the UNODC Regional Training Programme on Operational and Strategic Analysis on Migrant Smuggling. This programme aims to strengthen law enforcement's capacity to carry out operational analysis of migrant smuggling cases and to more effectively support migrant smuggling investigations. It also trains law enforcement to use that intelligence to carry out strategic analysis of a country's migrant smuggling situation in order to identify overall migrant smuggling trends, risk and threats and provide input to policy development.

"It strikes me how much changed in the last two weeks," said Mr. Martin Reeve, UNODC Regional Advisor, Human Trafficking, in his closing address to participants. "With the support of our team of internationally-recognized trainers, the UN has worked with participants to improve their understanding and capacity in handling the latest advanced criminal intelligence methodologies and techniques. We've already seen that participants have been quick to put this knowledge to practical use," he added.

Course participants learned the purpose, benefits and management of operational and strategic analysis and how to foster networks of law enforcement experts in response to migrant smuggling.

"I am very grateful for this opportunity to learn something new that will assist me in my work. I wish these trainings would take place more regularly," said one trainee.

Half of the Thai and Cambodian officers attending the course work in newly established Port Intelligence Units (PIU). Funded by the Government of Canada the PIUs were set up by UNODC in March 2012 in Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia under the PIU Project. The other participants were from UNODC's Coordination and Analysis Unit (CAU) Project.

The PIU project aims to increase intelligence-led investigative capacities and thereby prevent maritime migrant smuggling in Southeast Asia. Strategically situated for more effective response, the PIUs will gather migrant smuggling intelligence from beyond their immediate locations and share it with local and international operational law enforcement.

UNODC has implemented a number of other programmes to combat migrant smuggling.

The PIU project complements UNODC's CAU Project which fosters evidence-based knowledge on migrant smuggling that can then be used to improve policies and operational measures. The CAU Project is funded by Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

Besides building field analysis capacity and carrying out research such as the recently published report Migrant Smuggling in Asia: A Thematic Review and its accompanying Annotated Bibliography, the CAU Project is currently establishing a Voluntary Reporting System on Migrant Smuggling and Related Conduct (VRS-MSRC). Following a successful test run in late 2012, the VRS-MSRC will be launched in mid-2013.

The training course was made possible with the financial contribution of the Government of Canada and Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).