Nine countries step up efforts to address unresolved human trafficking & migrant smuggling cases

Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), 1 March 2017
- Senior law enforcement officers from across nine countries in the region met today in a bid to boost cooperation on live trafficking in persons (TiP) and smuggling of migrants (SoM) cases. The event is part of a special series of workshops and technical mentoring sessions organised by UNODC to further regional collaboration at the operational level. It brought together experienced practitioners from Bangladesh and eight ASEAN countries - Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand & Viet Nam.

Currently, the gaps exist that exist in investigative capacities and interagency cooperation are undermining efforts to reduce the impunity with which human traffickers and migrant smugglers operate. Despite the commitment of investigative authorities, far too many cases remain unresolved - allowing criminal networks to continue taking advantage of people's vulnerabilities.

The workshop is part of a project that works with participants over a six month period to cooperate on selected human trafficking and migrant smuggling investigations, with support and mentoring by UNODC law enforcement experts. A report on progress will be presented at a second regional workshop later in the year.

Benjamin Smith, UNODC Regional Coordinator on Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants, explained the objectives of the project as twofold: "Our purpose is to foster region-wide law enforcement collaboration, bringing together countries that do not come together very often on these issues, if at all. Secondly, we are seeking to promote proactive intelligence-led investigations as an approach, targeting the organisers and facilitators of these crimes."

Participants were provided with detailed training on the different uses, types and techniques of intelligence gathering by UNODC law enforcement experts. There was a strong emphasis on how these principles could be applied to certain unresolved cases, with the cooperation of counterparts across the region.

The event was co-hosted by the Government of Malaysia, represented by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Maszely Minhad of D7C, the anti-trafficking in persons contingent of the Royal Malaysian Police. "We cannot work on human trafficking or migrant smuggling cases in silos," ACP Minhad stated in his address. "My attitude to fighting crimes of this nature effectively is simple: 'together we can'".

Click here to read more on UNODC's work on combating human trafficking.

Click here to read more on UNODC's work on combating the smuggling of migrants.